Manager Training Programme: 20 years of capacity building and business contacts

More than 13,000 managers have taken part in further training, generating benefits for German and foreign companies alike.

How can a manager based in Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa or Latin America start doing business with small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany? One way is to take part in the Manager Training Programme initiated by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The programme is coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on BMWi’s behalf. In operation for 20 years now, this programme helps establish successful business cooperation.

To date, around 13,000 executives from 19 countries have participated in the training, and roughly 900 more join each year. During their four-week stay in Germany, the managers selected to take part gain an insight into German business culture. They visit companies and are able to establish contact directly. In this way, the programme initiates business relations with several thousand German companies each year, leading to numerous contracts. In addition to this, the participants receive further training in management, cooperation and negotiation techniques. And the programme is also open to German managers, enabling them to travel abroad too. Russia and China have been involved in the initiative for many years, and in 2017 German managers went to Mexico for the first time.  

‘For us, the Manager Training Programme is a real lighthouse project,’ says Dr Christoph Beier, Vice-Chair of the GIZ Management Board. ‘Around 3,000 German companies participate in the programme every year, which is an important step on the road to getting Germany’s private sector more involved in international cooperation programmes.’

Following their trip to Germany, many participants stay in contact via alumni networks, playing a key role in knowledge transfer. They also provide German companies with a point of contact abroad. Trade between Germany and the countries taking part in the initiative is growing and the volumes involved far exceed publicly funded investments, making the programme beneficial for both sides.

With an annual commission volume of between EUR 30 and 35 million, BMWi is now GIZ’s fourth-largest commissioning party in the federal government. Given this development, BMWi and GIZ have signed a framework agreement designed to simplify and intensify their cooperation.