Insights in our Africa travel diary
In the mood for a trip to Africa?
We take you with us – at least virtually with first-hand impressions from our travel diary! In doing so, we open two exciting chapters: Nairobi and Kigali.
On board? Seven colleagues and our CEO and founder Dr Fritz Audebert.
The mission of the field trip? Of course, we are always striving to further expand our intercultural expertise. In addition, we are always looking for ways to get even closer to our clients. As more than 25 of them are currently from Africa, it is a matter close to our hearts to get to know the local culture. The more we learn about how people live and work together there, the better we can be there for them.
In order to get a comprehensive picture, the travelling schedule is as varied as it is intensive – we are happy to let you participate in it!
First of all: Why is Africa so incredibly exciting for us?
The answer is clear: Africa has enormous potential for growth and innovation. For example, the population of the 55 independent countries is expected to grow by 86% by 2050. Specifically, Kenya, the East African country with the most significant tech hub and considerable economic growth, is Germany’s most important economic partner in Africa. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees opportunities for climate protection in particular in the cooperation between the two countries. In addition, many young well-educated people in Kenya are looking for career advancement opportunities, while in Germany precisely such skilled workers are desperately needed.
How can we support each other in this regard so that both countries benefit from a close partnership? What new possibilities and opportunities do we currently have in the B2B sector and in business development?
So it’s about finding and strengthening synergies. We want to listen, understand, learn and break new ground together. To get a little closer to this, the trip started exactly there – in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Chapter 1: Nairobi
Hospitable, helpful, warm and respectful – that’s how we got to know the city. At the same time, Nairobi was fast, loud, colourful and exciting for us!
Our first day there was marked by a whole series of exciting meetings. From science to business, everything was there: for example, Dr. Johnson Ireri Kinyua showed us the renowned University of Nairobi and Dr. Patrick Kanyi Wamuyu led us around the impressive campus of the United States International University – Africa. With Joseph Kariuki from Robert Bosch Stiftung, we were able to discuss the potentials and challenges of setting up a business in Kenya. In addition, Eunice Njoroge from Evonik and Tabby Munyao and Samuel Kiarie Wairachu from MAN Energy Solutions gave us valuable first-hand insights into the country and helpful tips on how to build a network there. In the evening we took part in an exciting networiking event at the historic Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel where we met with other companies from Germany interested in Kenya.
The next day, we attended a very informative conference organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya (AHK Kenya): After an insightful country briefing on Kenya’s political, economic and social situation by inspiring representatives of the Embassy, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, KfW Bank and I&M Bank Ltd, some inspiring keynotes followed in the afternoon: Speakers from the Embassy, the Ministry of Education as well as many other representatives of the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) sector in Kenya and the companies participating in the delegation, such as ours, gave varied short presentations.
The goal? As already indicated: to create synergies and explore opportunities for cooperation. The keynote of our board member and founder Dr. Fritz Audebert as well as our esteemed colleague Alice Sorger were also very well received: Many Kenyan educational institutions are interested in facilitating the exchange of young professionals and, for this purpose, especially in strengthening their soft skills and intercultural competences.
After the conference, we also got to talk to many exciting companies such as VDMA, IBN Immigration Solutions and Triple Tee Immigration. It was also great to talk to Angela Gachui from Triple Bottom Line Associates (K) about the status quo around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Kenya and East Africa.
At this point, we would like to thank the many open-minded entrepreneurs who approached us and especially Mercy Mbithe Kathuku from the AHK for the perfect organisation of all these enriching meetings!
The third day was just as varied and intense as the previous days.
In the morning, our CEO and founder Dr Fritz Audebert and our Head of Relocation Consultants Lars Person visited Krones, one of the most important equipment suppliers in the beverage industry and food production, to gain exciting insights into process automation.
Furthermore, we learned more about the valuable vocational training programmes of the GIZ in a meeting with Horst Bauernfeind. We were also able to exchange ideas with Open Learning Exchange, a non-profit organisation that brings digital learning to local communities around the world. Because of our own digital learning solutions, we uncovered some synergies here that we would like to use to support each other in the future.
To stay directly in the education sector: Alice Sorger followed an invitation from Francisco Masinde to the Nova Pioneer School in Tatu City. The common goal is to promote the exchange between German and African schools.
Not to forget the enriching meetings with Sophie Kaminski from I&M Bank Ltd and Dr. Schwandner, the head of the foreign office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. in Kenya as also Fred Okeyo from the International Hotel & Tourism Institute and Nana Wanjau as well as Irene Gathoni Kinyanjui from the Commonwealth Business Women Africa!
Many thanks to all who made this day unforgettable for us!
Chapter 2: Kigali
From the fourth day onwards, we were in Kigali. Already by looking out of the plane we understood why Rwanda is called the “land of a thousand hills”: From above, everything was green and mountainous – simply beautiful! In terms of territory, Rwanda is just 0.7 times the size of Baden-Württemberg, making it one of the smallest countries in Africa. It stand in direct contrast to Kenya, which is more than 22x as big considering the square kilometres. We also immediately noticed a big difference in the mentality of the people, in the sense of a somewhat more thoughtful, yet always just as hospitable behaviour. The genocide that took the lives of about 1 million people in 1994 has left its mark on the country to this day and the process of coming to terms with it is still in full progress. At the same time, Rwanda is looking ahead!
The people there want to move the country forward and are therefore pursuing grandiose goals. For example, Rwanda wants to move up into the “high income” group of countries by 2050, which requires an average annual economic growth of more than 10%. In this regard, especially the domains of IT, healthcare, education, infrastructure and tourism are to be expanded. In addition to remarkable economic intentions, Rwanda shines in the fight against corruption and has the world’s best quota of women in parliament with over 60%.
Consequently, we arrived full of admiration for the country in its capital city, where we had an immediate meeting with VW and were received by CEO Serge Kamuhinda himself.
He gave us many valuable insights into his work and confirmed that Rwanda offers optimal conditions for international companies due to its good network.
In the afternoon, we made our way to the heart of the country to get to know a very impressive company in Muhanga:
Zipline uses autonomous drones to deliver medical care to health facilities in outlying areas. Thanks to Uruvugundi Prosper, we returned to Kigali with many lasting impressions of everyday work, the processes in the company and its goals.
There, a dinner with Christine Nkulikiyinka and her husband rounded off the day perfectly. The two of them were very supportive in building up our African contacts and taught us a lot about the culture in Rwanda. For this, as well as for the inspiring meetings on site, a big thank you to all those with whom we were able to exchange thoughts!
The second day in Kigali we had a full program again.
In the morning, we met with Michael Kleinbub from GIZ to learn more about Kigali and the potentials as well as challenges of the country. We also met another exciting company thanks to Brady Grimes: Ampersand has set itself the goal of electrifying Rwanda’s many motor taxis. Furthermore, we had an inspiring exchange with Jeremy Solomons, who is a consultant and coach and deals with similar topics as we do, such as inclusive leadership, intercultural and team collaboration, to name just a few examples.
At lunchtime, we visited Maurice Mwizerwa’s language school. Redempta Niragire teaches German there and has accompanied us constantly on site as a mediator for language and culture.
In the afternoon, we had a meeting with the Rwanda Development Board – a real tip for companies that want to gain a foothold in Rwanda. Katurebe Daniel and colleagues were always keen to answer every of our questions fully.
Thanks to Christine Nkulikiyinka, we were able to round off the eventful day at the historic Hôtel des Mille Collines, where we not only enjoyed Rwandan culinary specialities, but also experienced a traditional dance show.
Once again, a big thanks for all the enriching encounters!
We used our last day together in Rwanda to dive deep into the culture and history of the country. We will probably never forget the guided tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Some colleagues extended their stay privately by a few days and even got to see some fascinating wild animals.
With more than just a suitcase full of inspirations, ideas, new insights, exciting experiences, opportunities and impressive personal encounters, we left the country towards Germany. From there, we reviewed our trip together.
Shortly, we will write the last chapter of our travel diary with a short summary – for now.