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Africa ripe for German firms.

Martin Wittig
Berlin

Berlin: Strategy consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy Consultants held its seventh annual "Best of European Business" awards ceremony in the German Historical Museum in Berlin this week.

The four winners of the award, whose theme this year was "successful and sustainable business strategies in Africa," were BASF, Commerzbank, Linde and Siemens.

  • Four DAX companies — BASF, Commerzbank, Linde and Siemens — receive the award for their successful and sustainable corporate strategies in Africa
  • Federal Minister of Economics Dr. Philipp Rösler: "German companies have much to offer the African market"
  • Roland Berger CEO Dr. Martin Wittig: "Africa is an enormous growth market with vast opportunities! Our award winners have recognized these opportunities"
  • Roland Berger Chairman Professor Burkhard Schwenker: "The German economy has what it takes to do sustainable and mutually beneficial business in Africa"
  • New think: act STUDY "GLOBAL TOPICS — Inside Africa" by Roland Berger analyzes the opportunities for companies in Africa today

"In choosing our winners, we placed special value on companies that make an exemplary and responsible contribution to stabilizing and developing African companies," said Martin Wittig, CEO of Roland Berger, in a speech at the awards ceremony. "This includes establishing business relationships and true partnerships."

Wittig chose Africa as the theme for this year's BEB awards because even today, with Africa's economic progress over the last decade no longer a secret, many Western businesses and investors are still apprehensive about entering the continent.

"Africa represents business opportunities that German companies can take advantage of with their know-how, technology and capital, working together with African partners. The view of Africa as a monolithic block characterized by poverty, hunger, disease, war and corruption is long outdated. Africa is a huge growth market with enormous opportunities. Our award winners have recognized those opportunities. They successfully demonstrate an optimistic perspective on Africa and further the enormous potential of the continent through their involvement in African countries", he said.

New Study

Wittig's views are in part based on a new study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in the think: act STUDY series, published on the occasion of the BEB awards.

In the study, Roland Berger consultants analyze how Africa is developing.

"Peace, political stability, civil rights, civic participation and economic freedom are growing all over the continent. Poverty and illiteracy are declining and quality of life is improving for more and more people", the study says.

"From economic growth to protection for investors' rights, a whole raft of African countries are now on the same level as the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), Turkey, Malaysia or even some European countries."

In a speech at the BEB awards ceremony, German Federal Minister of Economics Dr. Philipp Rösler also drew attention to the changes in Africa and the opportunities they represent for German companies.

"German companies have much to offer the African market. Their top-quality products and services are highly valued there", he said. Closer integration of market development and economic engagement is in the interests of both Africa and Germany.

"German business involvement in Africa means meeting international standards with regard to social and environmental issues and implementing them in accordance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises."

The German government therefore supports firms in their involvement in Africa with a broad range of tools promoting foreign trade and development cooperation, he said.

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