German companies sharpen focus on East Africa at Nairobi Summit
Nairobi played host to more than 450 delegates for the second German African Business Summit (GABS). Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, was present at the opening ceremony. More than half of the over 450 delegates present being from Germany. This underlines the $3.73 trillion dollar economy’s deepening interest in the region.
“Africa is a major priority for the German Government, also in the context of Germany’s G20
Presidency. This Summit offers a great platform for the opportunities available in
sub-Saharan Africa for investing, trading, learning and connecting – both for
business and for government.” noted the new German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs,
Brigitte Zypries, during the opening ceremony on her first trip abroad.
Dr. Gerd Müller, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and
Development was likewise present at the opening ceremony and lauded Africa’s
potential. He noted that the GABS highlighted Germany’s commitment to shifting
its cooperation with Africa from aid to trade.
“Public money has to mobilize private investment, for instance through
government guarantees. Private investment has to be increased and protected
against risks. We need a paradigm shift, a new dimension of cooperation.” noted
The first GABS in 2015 was held in Berlin. This year the event has taken place in Africa for the first time. The choice for Nairobi is indicative of Kenya’s growing profile as the business hub of the region.
The German Business Association Kenya is one of the largest and most influential
bilateral business associations in the country. It has more than 150 members.
Last year, five new major companies opened branches in Kenya, including automaker Volkswagen which reopened its assembly plant in Thika after a four-decade hiatus.
CS Henry Rotich and CS Amina Mohamed met with their respective German counterparts where both governments signed agreements on the project of a joint East African-German University of Applied Sciences. They also agreed on a joint initiative to enhance technical and vocational training in Kenya. The first day of the Nairobi Summit was marked by dialogue between German and African delegates on issues such as the economic growth drivers in Africa,
regional economic integration, and emerging business opportunities in the region and innovation and digitization.
Day two of the Summit will focus on trade finance, economic and political risks in Africa and best practices in German-African Business models.