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EU-Africa Summit VDMA: Strengthen relations with Africa!


17 Feb 2022


Global Europe

Brussels/Frankfurt, 16 February 2022 – Commenting on the sixth Summit between the EU and the African Union on 17 and 18 February 2022, Ulrich Ackermann, Head of the Foreign Trade Department at VDMA, says:

"It is important that this Summit lays the foundation for a deeper and comprehensive partnership between the EU and the African Union, especially in the areas of trade, infrastructure and climate change. Africa is our neighbouring continent with more than 1.3 billion people, making it an important partner region. It is home to sales markets with growth potential. With the help of European technologies, the challenges of the continent can be addressed, the individual economies can be diversified, jobs can be created and renewable energies and environmental protection sustainably can be expanded. With support also in the education sector and vocational training, this development will be further promoted.

Moreover, free trade is a key to long-term and sustainable economic growth in Africa. Therefore, Europe should make every effort to support Africa's continental integration. Furthermore, there is still much to be done in the infrastructure sector. This Summit should be used to launch the EU's Global Gateway Initiative for Africa. We need concrete infrastructure projects that show a real alternative to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. These projects should be implemented in close partnership with European industry”.

VDMA initiative „Skilled Workers for Africa“

With its „Skilled Workers for Africa“ initiative, the VDMA has been supporting companies' entry into the market and has been training young people in Africa for several years. In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa there is a high demand for skilled workers, especially in mechanical engineering, which is slowing down the use of modern technology. Together with the Nachwuchsstiftung Maschinenbau, VDMA Services and its members, the VDMA is committed to qualifying local skilled workers by setting up vocational training centres in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria. As there is a particularly high shortage of skilled workers in the infrastructure, energy and raw materials sectors, as well as in the food and packaging industries, they are among the target sectors of the training and further education programme. The training programme is based on the concept of dual vocational training - the combination of theory and practice. Together with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), African partners as well as the VDMA, its members and business partners are investing an amount in the tens of millions in setting up the infrastructure and in conducting the training courses.

A photo of Ulrich Ackermann, Head of the Foreign Trade Department, can be found here.

The VDMA represents more than 3,400 German and European companies of the mechanical engineering industry. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and medium-sized businesses. The companies employ around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany. Mechanical and plant engineering represents a European turnover volume of around 800 billion euros. With a net value added of around 270 billion euros, it contributes the highest share of the entire manufacturing sector to the European gross domestic product.



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