On February 6. 2018, africon GmbH’s first Africa workshop took place in the Congress Center Düsseldorf. 44 customers followed the invitation as well as companions and partners of africon GmbH. Reason to launch this event was among others the occasion of africon GmbH’s seven-year existence.
After the welcome by the shareholders Mr Marc Zander and Mrs Sonja Mattfeld, the two also gave the audience a short review on the past seven years of africon. Mr Thomas Dohse, Deputy Director of interpack and also the representative of the host Messe Düsseldorf, welcomed the attendees of the workshop with warm words and spoke also about the experiences of the trade fair company in Africa.
Subsequently, Mr Hans Stoisser, author of the book “The Black Tiger – What we can learn from Africa”, delivered a vivid talk on the need for German and European companies to work on their Africa strategies. In his keynote he campaigned for a new perception towards the European neighboring continent Africa.
Above all, Mr Stoisser emphasized the dynamics and new opportunities that develop in African countries through the great creativity and above all though the rapid pace of development and growth. Even though today’s market sizes may still seem marginal to many companies, they should not do the mistake to ignore these innovative growth markets.
After a short coffee break, two separate workshop groups were formed. Each group had interesting and vivid discussions as well as exchange of ideas about two different topics. One group discussed on the question “How to sell investment goods in Africa?” and the other discussed on challenges concerning “How to manage partners in Africa?”.
It was a pleasure that Günter Nooke, the personal Africa-adviser of the German chancellor as well as the BMZ’s Africa representative, complemented the discussions in a very interesting way with adding some perceptions from a political point of view.
Mr Nooke specifically mentioned the progress in terms trade stimulation and the efforts of the European Union to promote economic integration, for example through free trade areas on the continent. He also emphasized the successful promotion of initiatives to improve investment conditions in African countries. Here he exemplified BMZ investment programs to promote job partnerships and industrial parks in Ethiopia.
The aim of the event was to facilitate a lively dialogue between companies that are already active in Africa and those who want to expand their activities on the continent in future. The interesting and diverse program as well as reciprocal recommendations, networking and exchange of experience and ideas among the attendees lead to a very positive feedback and calls for a continuation in the coming year 2019.