News / Media / Africa Talks on 17 December 2018

Africa Talks am 17. Dezember 2018

Africa Talks am 17. Dezember 2018

LGP and Andersen Tax & Legal launch Africa Talks on EU-Africa relations

On the occasion of the "High Level Forum Africa-Europe" to conclude the Austrian EU Presidency, LANSKY, GANZGER + partner (LGP) in cooperation with Andersen Tax & Legal Germany invited to a panel discussion on the future of African-European relations on 17 December 2018. For the Africa Talks, Gabriel Lansky (LGP) and Hermann Knott (Andersen) were able to attract top-class speakers, including former WKO (Austrian Chamber of Commerce) President Christoph Leitl, demographer Rainer Münz, Africanist Prof. Adams Bodomo, founder of the Smart Africa Alliance, Hamadoun Touré, Member of the Austrian Parliament Martin Engelberg, AGRANA Fruit Services Board Member Herbert Hlawati, Fritz Sacher - CEO Pioneering Africa and Member of the DAWA Board and many more. The invitation was accepted by 100 invited company representatives. The discussion was moderated by Flavia Inzikuru - she heads the African Desk at LGP and Andersen Tax & Legal Germany, and Georg Lennkh, board member of the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue and former Africa Special Representative of the Austrian Foreign Minister. The focus was on the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Africa or with business partners from Africa.

Gerald Ganzger, Prof. Adams Bodomo, Herbert Hlawati, Martin Engelberg, Georg Lennkh, Flavia Inzikuru, Fritz Sacher, Hamadoun Touré, Prof. Rainer Münz, Hermann Knott, Gabriel Lansky (Photos: / A. Felten)

Neocolonialism makes it difficult to meet at eye level

According to the African scientist Adams Bodomo of the University of Vienna, European companies should invest less under the heading of humanitarian aid. "Address the youth in Africa", he appealed to the approximately 100 company representatives at the Africa Talks. Former WKO President Christoph Leitl calls for a "Marshall Plan" for Africa. With China, Europe has become a serious competitor. "If foreign companies are interested in long-term investments, the people in the African countries have a perspective and do not emigrate," said the former WKO boss and current president of the European Economic Chamber Eurochambres. NR Martin Engelberg - he is Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Development Cooperation in the Austrian Parliament - sees development cooperation as unsatisfactory. "Most development cooperation is about haggling over contributions, but the actual issue takes a back seat. It would be important to organise expenditure effectively", said the MEP. Population scientist Rainer Münz: "The European discourse on employment and growth does not fit in with Africa. Gross domestic product says little about real economic conditions when most people work in subsistence economies."

Herbert Hlawati, Martin Engelberg, Georg Lennkh, Fritz Sacher, Hamadoun Touré, Prof. Rainer Münz

Anxiety issue migration

Population scientist Rainer Münz provided an unexpected finding for the participants of the Africa Talks on the question of migration from Africa. Current studies show that about one third of the African population is considering moving to another country. The proportion is similarly high in European countries. According to Münz, investment and migration must be considered and discussed separately. Host Gabriel Lansky also put possible fears of migration movements from Africa into perspective. "Out of the billion population of the African continent it is estimated that 20 million people are on the run. These are dramatic figures. But all in all the fear of migration is not insoluble. In view of the fact that Europe expects not even 100,000 refugees in 2018 and that one million refugees will be received in Africa itself, I consider focusing on the spectre of migration from Africa to be an incomprehensible approach. Especially when you consider that Uganda, which is by no means rich, has already taken in more than 1 million refugees," the lawyer said.

Economic success with regional products for regional customers

Martin Engelberg mit Gastgeber Gabriel Lansky

Martin Engelberg sees the key to the economic success of European companies in Africa in local production with local workers for local markets. Successful European companies such as Dopppelmayr and VAMED would rely on local value creation by local workers. AGRANA Fruit Services Management Board member Herbert Hlawati confirms this assessment. "In our projects in Africa, we are working together with local investors and ensuring the necessary transfer of know-how in production processes. This has proven to be a successful model for job creation." Fritz Sacher - CEO Pioneering Africa and member of the DAWA Management Board - drew attention to local differences in production quality standards in Africa. He therefore relied on the establishment of production networks in Africa and the sale of goods developed for the respective region. His findings: "European entrepreneurs have not yet arrived in Africa. Whoever enters the markets of Africa as a European is still a pioneer."

Africa is a young continent with potential

The hosts of the Africa Talks are also convinced of the potential of the African markets for European investors. "According to the World Bank, six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. The continent with its young population is a neighbour of Europe and has enormous economic potential," says lawyer Gerald Ganzger. "The combination of international standards in work and local expertise is a prerequisite for working the African markets. With regard to Africa, we have found an ideal partner for this approach in Andersen Global. Co-host Hermann Knott, Andersen Tax and Legal Germany: "We have focused our international strategy on Africa and now have 8 local offices”. Gabriel Lansky: "A remarkable service sector has developed in Africa, and the continent is now one of the world's leading providers of digital services and mobile communications technology. No wonder Google and Facebook are investing billions in African markets, in research and development. Africa's population is young and will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. At the same time, 20 percent of the population are self-employed, and another 50 percent are active in start-ups. A continent of opportunities, not of refugees". Hamadoun Touré, the founder of the Smart Africa Alliance: "Within the framework of an intelligent Africa policy, the two continents should be linked via digital technologies with the aim of creating a digital internal market". To the participants of the Africa Talks: "Join the Smart Africa Alliance initiative". Smart Africa is an association for "accelerating the sustainable development of the African continent's economies". A knowledge society is to be built through access to modern communication technologies.


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