Afrika kommt! (I Wish I Could) Sprechen Sie Deutsch

Carolyne Kariuki from Kenia.
Carolyne Kariuki from Kenia. | Photo: Maike Klatt

Afrika kommt! or “Africa is Coming!” is the name of an exchange programme launched by German companies in 2008 that offers advanced training for junior executives from sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to make them familiar with workflows and management methods and create long-lasting economic alliances. The participants learn German at the Goethe-Institut in Bonn.

“Made in Germany” is in great demand in Africa, “at least industrial and other products stand for good quality and sustainability. But purchasing them directly remains only wishful thinking for many end consumers,” says Dominique Gnezele. The operations and sales manager from Ivory Coast is one of the participants in Afrika kommt! Every year, about 6,000 people from various spheres of life in Africa apply for the programme. This year’s group consists of 13 women and 9 men who come from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Open to different cultures

In the initial phase, the candidates met in Nairobi every year and learned German there in the Goethe-Institut’s representative office for two months before they were able to fly to Germany for advanced training in the respective host companies. For the past five years, the German classes have been held in Bonn. Annesusanne Fackler, director of the Goethe-Institut in Bonn, feels enriched by this encounter in Germany, saying, “We had managers at different levels who are very intelligent and open to other cultures. They are highly educated and at the same time easy-going, so they not only want to acquire knowledge from Germany, but also to convey this knowledge in their home countries.”
 
  • Annesusanne Fackler and the 22 participants of Afrika kommt!, Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Annesusanne Fackler and the 22 participants of Afrika kommt!
  • Yolanda Pitso from Botswana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Yolanda Pitso from Botswana.
  • Ifeoluwa Oluwole from Nigeria. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Ifeoluwa Oluwole from Nigeria.
  • Maurilio Mateus from Angola. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Maurilio Mateus from Angola.
  • John Nikoi from Ghana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    John Nikoi from Ghana.
  • Kingsley Dompreh from Ghana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Kingsley Dompreh from Ghana.
  • Tanyaradzwa Marume from Simbabwe. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Tanyaradzwa Marume from Simbabwe.
  • Farirai Mubvuma from Simbabwe. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Farirai Mubvuma from Simbabwe.
  • Eugene Amarfio from Ghana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Eugene Amarfio from Ghana.
  • Simon Mwanzia from Kenia. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Simon Mwanzia from Kenia.
  • Harriet Matuga from Kenia. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Harriet Matuga from Kenia.
  • Aliou Keita from Mali. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Aliou Keita from Mali.
  • Augusta Muhimpundu from Burundi. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Augusta Muhimpundu from Burundi.
  • Lawrencia Quarshie from Ghana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Lawrencia Quarshie from Ghana.
  • Naseeba Bagalaaliwo from Uganda. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Naseeba Bagalaaliwo from Uganda.
  • Dominique Gnezele from Ivory Coast. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Dominique Gnezele from Ivory Coast.
  • Paul Akinola from Nigeria. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Paul Akinola from Nigeria.
  • Michelle Ochieng from Kenia. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Michelle Ochieng from Kenia.
  • Esther Ndambiri from Kenia. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Esther Ndambiri from Kenia.
  • Annesusanne Fackler of the Goethe-Institut Bonn, with Betty Nkonge from Kenia and Gracey Boadu from Ghana. Photo: Maike Klatt Photo: Maike Klatt
    Annesusanne Fackler of the Goethe-Institut Bonn, with Betty Nkonge from Kenia and Gracey Boadu from Ghana.

 
The professionals and executives spend eight months as interns at German companies and foundations. Three international management training courses by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) supplement the practical phase at the companies and teach theoretical and practical fundamentals in project management, intercultural competence, conflict management and leadership. After completion of the programme, the junior managers return to their home countries and become part of the alumni network.

To move Africa forward

“Germany and its people are doing better because the foundations of its social order are based on the rule of law and socio-economic equality,” says the marketing communications specialist Simon Mwanzia from Kenya enthusiastically. Everyone agrees, “The success of the German economy is a combination of efficiency and solution-oriented production.” They will take this culture and the know-how home with them at the end of the advanced training so that they can move things a bit in their own countries and so that Africa can truly move forward due to this exchange.