Today – 19 September – sees the arrival of the German-Africa ICT Forum at Microsoft Berlin, Germany.
A one-day forum, hosted by the German-African Business Association, it is discussing a wide range of topics including geoinformation applications, women in digital power, private and public sector cooperation, satellites and ICT solutions for creative industries. There are also workshops focused on emerging opportunities in satellite technology and IoT solutions in Africa, along with a start-up pitch competition, with the winning team chosen by a jury of well-known companies from the tech sector.
More significantly perhaps this is the first German-Africa ICT Forum, reflecting, some commentators say, new foreign policy dynamics in which Germany is beginning to bolster business partnerships with African institutions.
This ICT Forum aims to provide a platform for established companies and invited partners as well as young entrepreneurs and representatives from Africa to network and exchange ideas.
The German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) is a foreign trade association representing companies and institutions active in Africa or wanting to become active on the African continent; it is Europe’s largest Africa-focused business network. Around 1,000 German businesses are active in Africa today. Foreign trade between Germany and Africa totalled some € 45.1 billion in 2018 (German exports: € 22.6 billion, African imports € 22.5 billion).
The ICT focus of this event certainly underlines the changing view of opportunities in trade with Africa. It’s surprising, perhaps, that this is the first German-Africa ICT Forum, but it’s unlikely to be the last.