From 11 to 13 February, 2019, the third German-African Business Summit (GABS), Germany’s signature business event in Africa, took place in Accra. At GABS top business and government leaders from Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa meet every two years in Africa to discuss and promote economic relations between Europe’s largest economy and the fastest-growing region in the world.
This year’s Summit brought together about 500 high-ranking representatives from business and politics from Germany as well as many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, officially opened the Summit on Tuesday, 12th February 2019 in the presence of Hon. Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade and Industry, the Hon. Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, and the Minister for Business Development, Hon. Dr. Mohammed Awal. The German delegation was led by the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Hon. Dr. Gerd Müller, and comprised the Deputy Minister at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Mr Thomas Bareiß, the Director General at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Jakob von Weizsäcker, and the Chairman of the Sub-Sahara Africa Initiative of German Business, Prof. Dr. Heinz-Walter Große.
In his address Minister Müller emphasised the fact that Sub-Sahara Africa is the fastest growing region in the world and given the proximity of the region to Europe, Germany is ready to accompany Africa’s growth through collaboration in the areas of vocational training, agriculture, private sector investment, creation of jobs for the youth, etc.
On his part, Vice President Dr. Bawumia noted that, looking at the rate of economic and demographic growth on the continent and the increasing attention the region enjoys, the future belongs to Africa. For this reason, it is important to put in place the necessary policies and to develop the required infrastructure. He explained some of the measures being taken by the government of Ghana in order to well position the country to embrace both the present and the future.
The conference program consisted of panel discussions on various topics such as “Doing Business with the Compact with Africa countries – next steps to new investments in Africa”, “How to transform the 21st century into Africa’s century”, “Made in Africa: Moving up the Value Chain” and “How to unleash Africa’s trade potential”.
Major highlights of the 3rd and last day of the Summit included a fireside chat on entrepreneurship in the age of digitalization, a start-up pitch involving six innovative business models on the continent and a dozen of workshops organised by initiatives such as AFRIKA KOMMT and by institutions such as GIZ, DEG, GTAI and African Development Bank.
On the sidelines of the Summit, Ghana and Germany signed an MoU to set up a German-Ghanaian Business Council with the aim to facilitate more regular exchange between both governments and especially between business representatives, and thus to further strengthen economic relations between the two countries.
Also, Minister Müller launched a project in the apparel manufacturing sector dubbed “Socially responsible jobs in Ghana’s Emerging Apparel Sector”. This project will benefit more than 2,500 workers in the local garment sector.
He also commissioned a new training centre in the construction sector which was set up jointly by the company Knauf and the German government. The centre would provide training for 800 young Ghanaians every year.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, was the guest of honour at the reception at the German ambassador’s residence in the evening of February 12th.