Federal Ministers Gabriel and Müller with moderator Tanja Samrotzki.

Forum for the Future: “Conditions for just world trade and investment”

December 15, 2016 | Forum for the future | BMZ, Berlin, Germany

As part of the second Forum for the Future, “Making Globalisation Fair”, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Gerd Müller and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel introduced their new initiative for increasing investment activities in Africa on December 15, 2016 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Berlin. Around 200 guests attended the event organised by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum.

Federal ministers Dr Gerd Müller and Sigmar Gabriel both expressed their determination to counteract the growing trend towards isolationism evident in some countries. Along with Brexit and the rise of nationalist parties in a few European countries, Gabriel also pointed to the political platform of the future US president. The president-elect, he noted, had spoken out against international trade agreements and for increasing tariffs for neighbouring countries.

Minister Müller identified this rising tide of isolationism as counterproductive in view of global challenges, such as the increasing numbers of refugees and the effects of the global financial crisis, which required a coordinated response. He went on to say that global trade had generated a great deal of prosperity and benefited hundreds of million. Many had also been harmed by globalisation as well, he added, and there was an urgent need to shape global trade so it did not drive people into poverty and reinforce inequalities.

Minister Gabriel expressed support for international and fair guidelines, and called for a strengthening of the World Trade Organisation: “Multilateral trade agreements are better than bilateral ones. They are more effective at protecting the interests of smaller, weaker partners.”

Minster Müller said the German private sector needed to be encouraged to ramp up investment in Africa, noting that only around 1,000 companies were currently active on the continent. He listed some of the the factors that deter German firms from investing in African countries, including an inadequate business environment, excessive red tape, security challenges, and corruption.

Minister Müller announced that as part of their joint initiative to encourage private sector engagement in African nations, the BMZ and Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) would provide proposals for mitigating risks for companies willing to invest. ).The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) had plans to expand their network to support companies on the ground in such activities as establishing a dual vocational training system, he added. In addition to information for German companies, the new initiative also includes financing instruments in cooperation with banks, and export credit and investment guarantees from the German government. These measures are designed to promote trade between Europe and its African partner countries.

Impressions of the event

Federal Ministers Gabriel and Müller with moderator Tanja Samrotzki. Photos: GIZ

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