Frankfurt (Germany) and Accra (Ghana), January 2019. Last month, GreenTec Capital’s CFO Thomas Festerling was invited to participate in the “Migration – experiences and realities in Ghana’ workshop on 20th to 25th January in Accra, Ghana organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The week-long series of events focused on many topics related to migration and economic development and aspects of Germany and Ghana’s relationship. As a major focus of the German Compact with Africa is the promotion of the role of the private sector in driving African job growth and development, Thomas was invited because of to GreenTec’s active investment work in Africa and success in supporting African start-ups and SMEs.
The workshop brought together academics, German and African politicians and representatives of parliament, and members of the African and German business communities to network and discuss a range of topics related to migration, its driving factors, and their impact on development and economies. Understanding the local and global economic consequences of demographic flows, both through legal and illegal channels is a necessary prerequisite to providing actionable solutions that can be implemented at a number of levels. GreenTec firmly believes that addressing one of the demographic push factors is possible through the generation of sustainable jobs by SMEs and start-ups. These entities have the potential to provide direct jobs and impact the lives of millions of Africans if the conditions for these entities to thrive are improved.
At the workshop, Thomas had the opportunity to moderate a session titled “Labour migration within, towards and out of Ghana –opportunities and challenges… And: what does Ghana expect from Europe in regard to labour migration?” at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations with Chief Director Rudolph S. Kuuzegh. Among others, another interesting discussion partner was Hon. Barbara Ayisi Acher, Deputy Minister for Education. This conversation highlighted again, how important the Technical and Vocational Training can be for the education of the youth and how the German system can provide good examples for further implementation.
One day of the workshop was focused on entrepreneurship and its role and importance for the economy. Start-ups were included in the busy program as well, with GreenTec start-ups AgroCenta and SuperFluid presented as examples of successful African start-ups. Here Tom was also able to explain the significance of the “Valley of Death” in context of the African start-up ecosystem. The term refers to a period in a company’s growth where they have successfully demonstrated their product or service but fail to acquire adequate support to turn their ideas into sustainable ventures. In the African context, the “Valley of Death” is more pronounced because of missing post-accelerator support structures and opportunities. Developing this segment of the start-up ecosystem is one of GreenTec’s top priorities.
These were just some examples of many interesting encounters during the trip. The event provided excellent opportunities for networking with a variety of stakeholders and actors interested in the Ghanaian economy and business environment. We want to thank Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for the excellent planning and organization.