What does Africa bring to the table?
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
The Africa Forum took place in Munich this month, teaching Bavarians that there is no “one Africa”, the 54 countries hold very different risk and opportunities.
I was very happy to attend the very well organised and interesting Africa Forum in Munich recently. It was a great chance to learn that there is not “one Africa", but 54 different and diverse countries on one continent, all presenting their own strengths and challenges.
Prof. Gabriel Felbermayr, Ph.D., Präsident, Institut für Weltwirtschaft in Kiel, gave an excellent summary on this topic, to help attendees understand the chances and risks for the Bavarian Industrial Sector, and what is true for Bavaria, is likely true for all other European companies. Download it here.
Relevant case studies
This forum was a great way to gather new knowledge, as the talks with the different attending African representatives were very focussed and it was possible to clearly identify possible opportunities in the different African countries.
In the "Workshop" Sessions - which were Panel Talks and held little time for discussion afterwards - I had the chance to learn about the experiences and use cases German companies have generated in different industries and countries.
My key learning was, that while companies are creating industrial "Blue Collar" jobs all over Africa, there seems to be a huge gap in the demand and the market. Due to the lack of successful "Blue Collar" role models in the existing African societies, there is little interest in achieving the necessary skills required to complete these jobs, especially through the local educational programs.
Many companies are having to organize the training of local workers themselves, which requires extra attention and education skills from the companies. It seems that strengthening the teaching of "Blue Collar" skills in local educational system would make a lot of sense!
Overall the participants focussed mainly on viewing Africa as a market for their products, or as a place where you could source cheap labor to be leveraged in production. Only a few innovation experts were looking at Africa as a home of creativity and innovation, which could not only help solve big sustainability challenges in Africa, but could be impactful across the world.
This is the view that most participants from Africa found extremely interesting because of course they are committed to solving their own pertinent SDG problems themselves. It left me inspired to continue explore opportunities in this field in the future.
What do you know about African Innovation? Have you ever heard about Frugal Innovation?
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