Wilo strengthens economic policy commitment to sub-Saharan Africa
Oliver Hermes becomes a board member of the Africa Association and the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business
Dortmund. In order to intensify economic relations with African countries, position the continent more firmly in the focus of German economic and foreign policy and shape efficient cooperation with Africa beyond development aid, Oliver Hermes was appointed to the board of the Africa Association and the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) in September 2023.
"The cooperation in international interest groups and national associations is a central pillar of our political networking and our aspiration to be a ‘Connected Champion’ as the Wilo Group," says Oliver Hermes, President & CEO of the Wilo Group, explaining his latest commitment.
Harnessing Africa's economic potential sustainably
Global interest in Africa is growing: above-average economic growth forecasts, immense deposits of the resources so urgently needed for the energy transition and steady population growth clearly indicate the central role the continent will play in global competition in the coming decades. Solutions to global challenges such as climate change can only be found together with the countries of Africa.
This was recently made clear at the 4th G20 Compact with Africa (CWA) Summit, to which Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz had invited heads of state and high-ranking business representatives from more than 10 African economies to Berlin on 20 November, and at which the Wilo Group was also represented. The partnership between the G20 countries and selected reform-oriented African states is showing initial success: in an interim assessment, the CWA member states performed above average in terms of economic development in a continental comparison - the interest of other states in joining is accordingly high.
However, compared to economic powers such as Russia and China, which have been investing heavily in Africa for years, the German and European economies have so far fallen short of their own expectations. Still today only three per cent of German companies are active in Africa. One of these is the Wilo Group.
In addition to diplomatic declarations of intent, concrete economic policy incentives are needed to mobilise further private investment, be it to stabilise national currencies, reform the public tendering system or mitigate investment risks through investment or export guarantees, for example. This is the only way to make use of the enormous potential for cooperation in the field of renewable energies or the extraction and processing of raw materials such as rare earths.
"With its enormous raw material and human resources, the African continent will grow into a new economic power in the 21st century - whether we as Europeans contribute to this development or not. Africa is not waiting for us! In order not to lose touch and to be able to make competitive cooperation offers to the countries of Africa, politics and business must now work together resolutely," demands Oliver Hermes.
Wilo successively invests in regional value creation in Africa
Wilo can already look back on around 30 years of business and experience in Africa, in which highly efficient pumps and pump systems have facilitated the sustainable expansion of critical infrastructure in Africa and moved the scarce resource of water. Successive investments have been made in the sustainable development of sales infrastructures, the expansion of production capacities and thus in the regional depth of added value: for example, the site in Kenya was recently expanded to include modern assembly, testing and training capacities. With platforms in North, East, South and West Africa, the company is now an established player in the pan-African market and has been commissioned with major projects such as the irrigation of the arid Toshka region in Egypt.
By joining the board committees of SAFRI and the Africa Association, Oliver Hermes is emphasising his commitment to the region. The appointment also stems from the successful business conference "Building Bridges - Africa", which Wilo organised in May 2023 under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze.
Background: Africa Association and SAFRI
The German-African Business Association (AV) is the nationwide, cross-industry foreign trade association of German companies and institutions interested in economic cooperation with the countries of the African continent. As an excellently networked link, it promotes dialogue between German and African representatives from business and politics. In doing so, it advocates a new image of Africa in Germany: Africa as a continent of opportunity.
The Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) serves to promote sustainable and partnership-based economic relations between Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is sponsored in partnership by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the German-African Business Association.