Heiner Boeker is Human Resources Manager at Robert Bosch GmbH and was involved in the candidate selection process.
Gabriele Rzepka: What was the idea behind the AFRIKA KOMMT! initiative?
Heiner Boeker: We, the companies involved, believe in Africa's potential. The aim of this initiative is to create a win-win situation both for programme participants and for the companies: the companies can develop contacts with young professionals in Africa at an early stage; and the participants themselves acquire not just technical and methodological expertise, but also linguistic and intercultural skills. They are then able to establish important business links with Germany. For Tilman Todenhöfer, our company's managing partner and the programme's initiator, as well as for the 19 founder companies, this was the vision behind AFRIKA KOMMT!.
We, the companies involved, believe in Africa's potential.
How do the scholarship holders strengthen business relations between Germany and Africa?
The personal relationships between the people involved make an excellent basis for active networking. The work with alumni is crucial to sustainability. Former participants provide feedback on the experiences and challenges they faced both during the programme and on returning home. They take on a key role as opinion leaders in their homeland.
AFRIKA KOMMT! is helping with the ongoing development of opportunities for German and African companies.
What prospects does this programme bring to you as an entrepreneur?
For German companies it brings the prospect of long-term cooperation. For many years now, close relations have existed within Europe and North America. Now new links have been developed with South America and ten years ago we had similar circumstances in terms of business activities with Asia. AFRIKA KOMMT! is helping with the ongoing development of opportunities for German and African companies.
Gabriele Rzepka conducted the interview. She is s a freelance journalist, specialising in development policy and technology. The interview was first published in the GIZ magazine akzente, issue 04/2011.