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Economy, development, research: using opportunities, removing obstacles

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Africa is bursting with potential. Germany is working to use the opportunities for the German and African economies fairly and sustainably.

A seamstress in Kigali works at a sewing machine.
A seamstress in Kigali works at a sewing machine.© Ute Grabowsky/photothek.net

No continent is growing as quickly as Africa both in economic and demographic terms. In the last ten years, investment by German businesses has doubled. GDP in Africa has increased by 30% in the same period. The continent's ongoing poor image as far as the economy is concerned has for a long time now been at odds with the dynamic development figures. However, there are stark differences between the 54 countries.

Political instability, corruption and poor infrastructure are a major obstacle to investment in many countries, thus also hampering development and prosperity. Furthermore, many African economies are heavily dependent on the export of raw materials which entails high risks given the price fluctuations on the global market.

A continent on the rise

Engineering training in the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre project in Kigali.
Engineering training in the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre project in Kigali.© Ute Grabowsky/photothek.net
Nevertheless, the growing importance of Africa as a location for business and investment is reflected in global trade. Trade in goods and above all raw materials with the Asia‑Pacific area, particularly China, as well as Europe, North America but also India is growing disproportionately. This is also increasing demand for the expansion of infrastructure such as railways, roads and pipelines and of air traffic. For Germany as an exporting nation, Africa has huge as yet untapped potential.

African regional organisations, for example ECOWAS, are currently pushing forward regional economic integration projects. Shared markets, customs and monetary unions make the regions more attractive to foreign investors and for cooperation. With instruments such as investment and export guarantees, Germany is working to promote a positive economic climate in Africa and is supporting particularly German SME's wanting to engage in Africa.

Strategy for fair growth

Sweetcorn at a market in Sokode, Togo
Sweetcorn at a market in Sokode, Togo© Ute Grabowsky/photothek.net
The Federal Government is pursuing a comprehensive strategy for fair and sustainable growth in Africa. German development cooperation plays a key role. The Federal Foreign Office coordinates closely here with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as with implementing organisations such as KfW and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Sustainable growth needs innovation. This is why Germany is working comprehensively in the sphere of education and research in Africa. German scientists are today cooperating with partners from more than 39 African countries in more than 500 research and education establishments. There are also over 550 university cooperation projects. The Federal Foreign Office is supporting the Africa initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research here.

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Find out more:

Federal Minstry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)