Africa’s high demand for infrastructure and better health services presents a myriad of business opportunities, German-African business development association Afrika-Verein executive vice-president Hans Meier-Ewert tells Engineering News.
“Many African countries want to invest in roads, energy and water supply infrastructure,” he says. “The health sector will also play an important role.”
As Africa’s demand for energy grows rapidly, Meier-Ewert says that Germany’s strong renewable-energy expertise will find many new business opportunities on the continent, and that German companies are keen to participate.
“We see a growing interest in Africa,” says Meier-Ewert. “Our membership has grown from about 300 to 700 companies over the past decade, with 500 companies represented in South Africa alone.”
He says that, in recent years, the outside perception of Africa has changed for the better, with German President Horst Köhler strongly promoting partnering with Africa.
“Africa is no longer just the continent of crises, but of opportunities,” says Meier-Ewert.
However, issues such as corruption, bureaucracy and the lack of skilled labour remain hurdles preventing the continent from reaching its true economic potential, he says, adding that the constant reappearance of these challenges in Afrika-Verein’s annual business climate survey for Southern Africa indicates a lack of timely improvement.
Afrika-Verein will be hosting bilateral forums for Nigeria, on November 9 and 10, in Nigeria, and for South Africa, on November 30 and December 1, in Germany, which will seek to address issues of infrastructure and energy in Africa.