“At the last Africa summit one year ago we announced our intention of stepping up our support for German and African businesses, and our offer stands: a better enabling environment for investment in our reform partner countries. Our development investment fund is being implemented. A programme to encourage investment has been launched for medium-sized German enterprises – we received more than 220 applications in just a few weeks. Support for African medium-sized companies has been set in train. And we have created new cooperation schemes for businesses in the field of digital technologies and in the field of vocational training. With this package of support, German businesses are able to put a stronger focus on Africa. That is why I am pleased that, together with Joe Kaeser from Siemens, with SAP and with several medium-sized enterprises, I was able to sign strategic agreements for new investments today.”
German Development Minister Gerd Müller is to sign several contracts at the summit, including for water supply in Tunisia, for building a factory for organic chocolate and lastly for expanding a factory producing sustainable textiles in Ghana (which alone will create 1,500 new jobs). The Ministry is thus creating new opportunities on the ground and improving the supply of skilled staff. In addition, through the 50 projects being supported under the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, another 70,000 jobs and 32,000 training places will be created in Africa.
Altogether, 400 million Euro from the development investment fund is available for investments by medium-sized German and European companies in Africa. A further 400 million Euro is being invested in promoting African medium-sized companies. And, together with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation, 200 million Euro is being made available for the Africa business network, which has been established with a view to improving the contacts structure for German companies. Furthermore, German Development Minister Gerd Müller signed new reform partnership agreements with Senegal and Ethiopia. An agreement with Morocco is to be finalised soon.
Commenting on these partnerships, German Development Minister said, “The reform partnerships illustrate the new focus of Germany's development cooperation. We are concentrating on ownership, private investment, vocational education and employment, so as to make sure that Africa's young people have a future in Africa. This requires efforts by the countries of Africa to improve the general environment: good governance, development of tax authorities and supreme audit institutions, legal certainty, anti-corruption measures and democracy. If governments wish to join the reform partnerships, they have to take action in all these fields. Ethiopia, Morocco and Senegal have made progress in this regard. That is why we will be engaging more in these countries. What is new here is that the funding will only be disbursed after the agreed reform steps have been implemented.”
In June 2017, the BMZ entered into the first three reform partnerships with Tunisia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. Through the reform partnerships, the German government is putting the Marshall Plan with Africa and the G20 Compact with Africa initiative into action. The Reform Partnership countries are all successful: they have all improved their placings on the World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Index. Morocco and Tunisia are among the top performers. Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal have actually moved up about 30 places in the rankings since 2016.
In addition, the BMZ has launched a Digital Initiative for Africa, because digital technologies are advancing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. Altogether the BMZ is investing some 270 million Euro in over 200 digital projects in Africa. They range from internet-based citizen participation schemes to apps which farmers can use for selling their produce to telemedicine in remote regions.