Let’s Go to Africa! A glance back at the successful Afrika Forum Bayern 2019

During the Afrika Forum Bayern 2019, over 200 participants in Munich got together to have a closer look at the ‘Continent of Opportunity’.

  • © IHK Munich

The Afrikaforum Bayern 2019, held in Munich on 25th July 2019, has been a huge success with over 200 participants hailing from the Bavarian business community, chambers, and other partner organizations. Under the theme ‘Continent of Opportunity’, the conference aimed at enticing Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of the Bavarian Economy, to consider expanding their operations to Africa. The conference was organized by the Bavarian Chambers of Industry and Commerce in cooperation with Messe München and was supported by, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology.

Africa has been growing in interest as a market in light of shifting global socioeconomic policies towards protectionism. As Europe, America and China begin to engage in difficult business relations due to favor for homemade products, Africa remains open for business trade with eagerness to leave behind the longstanding western perception of the continent as one of disease, poverty and aid.

Addressing the delegates, Eberhard Sasse, President of the Bavarian Chambers of Industry and Commerce (BIHK), stated that Africa currently is preparing for the largest free trade area in the world. Under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which was formally established in July, by the Africa Union. 54 out of 55 AU member states are part of this agreement, which aims at members removing tariffs from 90% of goods and services, thus allowing free access across the continent. He encouraged Bavarian companies to go to Africa and assured them of the support of all partners in Bavaria in this endeavor. It would take courage and strategic thinking to enter the African markets, but it is worth the effort. He applauded those Bavarian companies that are already active in Africa, they serve as role models. “You are those that are taking care of new markets early enough” – and that pays out.

Maren Diale-Schellschmidt, Delegate of German Industry in Eastern Africa, on one of the panels, advised the participants that of key importance is permanent business contacts in the region. The AHK offices on the continent offer German companies seeking to engage in business relations with Africa with unparalleled support services including market studies, business partner searches, fact finding missions, and sector specific business delegations. Quality “Made in Germany” and, of course, “Made in Bavaria” were highly recognized by African partners - it opens many new opportunities for the market.

Link to the article from the IHK Munich on the event (in German)