In 2008, nineteen leading German companies launched a joint initiative called AFRIKA KOMMT! to train young managers from sub-Saharan Africa. The programme offers training opportunities for young qualified experts and managers, who spend eight months in German companies as part of an internship. In this way, companies invest in expanding their cooperation with African countries. At the same time, they benefit from the country-specific knowledge of highly motivated young managers, who bring with them new approaches and insights. They also support the awareness for diversity in the companies. Since 2017, participants can also gain experience in the non-profit sector.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the programme on behalf of the private-sector initiative. The federal enterprise is an ideal partner for the initiative due to its many years of experience with different manager programmes and its contacts and infrastructure in Germany and Africa. The programme is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the German embassies in sub-Saharan Africa.
AFRIKA KOMMT! is in great demand. This has become particularly clear in the application and selection phase: up to 6,000 young professionals apply each programme year for the 25 to 30 available places. Crucial for the mutual benefit of both parties is the selection of suitable candidates. GIZ organises the selection process, but the partner companies also play a key role by defining the profile of their ideal candidates and selecting the final participants during a comprehensive Assessment Centre in Africa.
The selected experts and managers attend a German course in Africa and then deepen their language skills in an intensive course after arriving in Germany. Three international management training courses organised by GIZ supplement the practical phase in the companies and provide participants with theoretical and practical foundations in the areas of project management, intercultural competence, conflict management and leadership. The participants are directly involved in the work processes at the companies. GIZ supports and advises all participants on personal and technical matters during their stay in Germany and the training period in their respective companies.
After completing the programme, the young managers return to their home countries and become members of the alumni network. Programme alumni can exchange ideas, while future participants can get advice and find support. The alumni become multipliers in their home country; by passing on their positive experiences with German culture and German companies, they can help shape views in their country.
But the alumni are also something more. With their cultural and corporate experience, German language skills and contacts in Germany, they are key contacts for German companies who would like to expand their activities in Africa. More than two-thirds of participants from last year’s programme were employed directly by their partner company and now work at these companies’ branch offices in Africa. For example, 11 alumni now work in Africa at Robert Bosch GmbH, one of the founding companies of AFRIKA KOMMT!. Some of the alumni were able to open new branch offices in their home countries for the partner companies. Patrick Okello, for example, opened the first office for ANDREAS STIHL GmbH & Co. KG in Eastern Africa. Other alumni, such as Lucy Wanjiku Mutinda from Kenya, have been able to develop and implement their own business ideas through participation in the programme. Her company, Ecocycle Ltd., has more than 20 employees and installs small, fully organic sewage treatment plants for wastewater processing that were developed by a company from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany.
Last updated: August 2019