Lucy Mutinda is a successful Kenyan entrepreneur. Her company installs fully biological wastewater treatment plants in a country where only a third of the population has access to the public sewage system. Interestingly, the treatment plants are made in Germany.
Mutinda got to know the manufacturer when she worked as an engineer in Germany for a few months in 2008. At the time, she was taking part in the first AFRIKA KOMMT! programme, an initiative for young African managers launched by German businesses and implemented by the German Development Agency (GIZ) with support from the German President. Participants have the opportunity to work at German companies for eight months and gain an insight into work processes and management methods that they can later put to use in their careers. Taking part in the programme allowed Mutinda to make contacts and learn important management skills that came in useful when she set up her own company.
A further 126 participants from 22 African countries have successfully taken part in the programme. Many of them are meeting today in Berlin to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the initiative together with representatives from politics and industry.
It is clear that the initiative has been extremely beneficial for the participants and the companies alike. Uwe Raschke, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH, said: "Africa offers significant market potential for companies. Having the right team on the ground is crucial. AFRIKA KOMMT! is an excellent opportunity to make contacts with future managers in Africa."
Almost three quarters of the participants continue to work at their placement companies after the programme has ended and provide assistance when offices are set up in their home countries, for example. This allows companies to step up their operations in Africa and boost the local economy at the same time.