G-PAD Forum 2023

The Global Partnership for African Development (G-PAD) Forum will take place again on October 20, 2023. This year’s theme is “Africa’s Outlook as an Emerging Global Market” – register directly and discuss Africa’s perspective as a global market with exciting speakers.


This year the association's Global Partnership for African Development (G-PAD) Forum event is taking place for the sixth time Lead Africa International eV with the support of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ).

On October 20, 2023, the committed African diaspora, African political decision-makers, actors from business, politics and civil society will meet at the Baden-Württemberg state representation in Berlin and online to discuss Africa's perspective as an emerging global market.

G-PAD 2023 will take place hybrid in Berlin and online. The conference language is English. All further information can be found via the registration link.

Be inspired by the diverse speakers and guests. We look forward to your participation!


Africa is the future and startup continent

Technology Region takes (East) Africa into account and wants to enable cooperation on an equal footing - building trust is an important prerequisite

The Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ), TechnologyRegion Karlsruhe GmbH (TRK) as well sieber l wensauer-sieber l partner (swsp) organized the online kick-off event of the Digital Hub Africa with the aim of gradually intensifying connections between the region and East Africa. “Africa is the future and startup continent from which we can learn a lot.” said Philipp Keil, managing director of the SEZ.

Collaboration with start-ups and companies from African countries is arousing more and more interest and Africa is also becoming more important in the Karlsruhe Technology Region. This became particularly clear through the impulse of James Shikwati, Kenyan economist and founder of the Interregional Economic Network IREN. He gave insights into the East African start-up scene in the areas of mobility, energy and digitalization. Shikwati, who was speaking from Nairobi, came to the conclusion that, in addition to trust, the path to each other depends on the openness and flexibility of those involved. In order to be successful, according to the 51-year-old former Robert Bosch Fellow, it is helpful to build on established start-ups and companies and to use the hubs that exist in East Africa and their knowledge.

Designed as a stakeholder dialogue, the opening event with over 70 registered participants from the areas of start-ups, companies, science, the public sector and ministries aimed to strengthen existing networks in the TRK, but also beyond, as well as interested start-ups and To activate companies in the areas of energy, mobility and digitalization. Ways and needs were discussed together to enable stable cooperation in the future. The first virtual meetings between German and African interested parties are scheduled to take place in November.

Further information can be found on the Website of the Karlsruhe Technology Region and in the press release from the 30.09.2021.


Kick-off event of the Digital Hub Africa

The Digital Hub Africa offers space for networking start-ups and companies from (East) Africa and the Karlsruhe Technology Region.

Do you have contacts with or interest in (East) Africa and are your start-up or company active in the areas of energy, mobility or digitalization? Then sharpen your focus on (East) Africa at the Digital Hub Africa and identify new opportunities and possibilities for cooperation. Here you can share experiences, discuss questions and gain new knowledge!

The Digital Hub Africa format consists of two modules. All events will take place online. At the September 30, 2021 At the start, a stakeholder dialogue will take place, which will focus on disseminating information and networking for start-ups and companies in the Karlsruhe Technology Region that are already cooperating with African countries or want to implement this in the future. In this event, the focus on existing networks in Africa will be sharpened and concrete project ideas will be discussed and developed together with the participants. The speaker James Shikwati, Kenyan economist and founder of the Interregional Economic Network (IREN), shows the opportunities and challenges of African markets and addresses possible connecting points and future markets. Find out more about Digital Hub Africa here. If you have any questions about the launch event of Digital Hub Africa, please contact our partners directly sieber | wensauer-sieber | partner. Your contact person is the project manager Nadine Rahner.

Your contact person at the SEZ


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Startup Africa

StartUp Afrika strengthens and promotes new collaborations between African and Baden-Württemberg actors.

At the event Startup Africa From July 27th to 29th, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria, over 50 founders and social entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and innovations, the chance to win funding of up to 10.000 euros and thus new collaborations between Africa and Baden-Württemberg.

Start-ups, founders and social entrepreneurs play a key role in shaping economic relations between Africa and Baden-Württemberg: their innovative ideas can provide groundbreaking impulses for social and ecological transformations of the future. Equal and collaborative partnerships are firmly anchored in the UN Agenda 17 with Sustainable Development Goal No. 2030.

The Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) works closely with StartUp Africa State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg and Lead Africa International together. Further information about StartUp Africa can be found here here and on the Website of the event.


G-PAD Conference 2020

This year's G-PAD conference focuses on sustainable economic partnerships with Africa in times of Corona.

It brings together stakeholders from Africa, Germany and the EU to develop a comprehensive approach to policy and multilateral cooperation. Civil society actors as well as representatives of science, politics and business with a regional perspective on Africa will exchange ideas at the two-day event and jointly develop projects for global partnerships with African actors

The G-PAD Conference 2020 is an event as part of the Africa Forum, which is part of the implementation of the Africa in Focus initiative. The Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) is holding the conference in cooperation with Lead Africa International e.V.

You can find the detailed conference program here.


Philipp Keil meets James Shikwati in Kenya

Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ), met James Shikwati, Director of the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) in Kenya.

Keil also took part during his visit IRISH Small and Medium Enterprises Forum (SME). part. The Kenyan think tank IREN focuses on developing political and economic strategies that help move Africa forward.

The connection between SEZ and IREN has existed for a long time. James Shikwati visited Stuttgart in 2018 and attended, among other things, the Fair Trade trade fair, where he also spoke to a larger audience as a keynote speaker.


SEZ at start-up bw summit 2019

The Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) invited start-ups with a connection to Africa to exhibit in the “international corner” for the first time at this year’s start-up bw summit.

In doing so, it offered young social entrepreneurs with products from Africa the opportunity to present their company and at the same time contributed to the international networking of the Baden-Württemberg scene.

Three young entrepreneurs with a connection to Africa seized the opportunity. Kizito Odhiambo from Kenya offers with his company agriBORA Geo-information services for small farmers, with which harvest results are calculated and recommendations for cultivation are given. The day was very successful for Odhiambo. “I had a lot of exciting technical discussions about our idea and our offer,” he says. “I actually found an investor and someone who wants to support us in software development.”

The day also went well for Victor Thien and his company afringa, based in South Africa. “I was able to add new specialists to the database. It remains to be seen whether I have also gained customers for our service,” says the young entrepreneur. afringa is the first online business and career platform specializing exclusively in the African continent.

“The interest in my initiative was greater than I expected,” reports Babatunde Ogboru from Nigeria. He is the founder of Rethink Lagos – Institute of Entrepreneurship. The aim of the start-up is to create better conditions and sustainable growth in the Nigerian metropolis. “Companies and other social start-ups in particular have been interested in me and my business idea.” After successful networking, he sees the need to have his own To establish a network in Lagos and to bring innovative start-ups there into contact with one another. Babatunde Ogboru and his institute would like to promote partnerships between German and Nigerian companies. Rethink Lagos is ideally supported by the SEZ.

“I am thrilled at how many visitors to the summit came to our stand and the social entrepreneurs specifically because of their interest in the African continent,” says SEZ employee Lena Wimmer. “We see partnerships between social entrepreneurs from Baden-Württemberg and African countries as a great opportunity for both sides.”

The SEZ made contact with the social entrepreneurs represented at the start-up BW Summit 2019 in autumn 2018 during the ASA Autumn School for Sustainable Entrepreneurship, which she carried out in cooperation with Engagement Global.


Controversial: used clothing exports to Africa

The export of used clothing from Europe to Africa is controversial. Various East African countries announced that they would impose an import ban on imports of used clothing from 2019.

We spoke about these topics with Anton Vaas, the managing director of Aktion Hope, a long-standing partner of the SEZ.

The main argument against exporting used clothing to Africa is that it destroys the textile markets of the importing countries. What is the truth of this accusation, Mr. Vaas?

This discussion arose in the early 1990s, primarily through a study by Südwind. But that's not entirely true. There was an African textile industry in the 60s and 70s, but it was never internationally competitive. It was hit very hard by the liberalization of African markets in the 1980s.

What is the state of the African textile industry today?

There are still textile factories producing clothing for domestic markets. But this is more traditional clothing made from fabrics with traditional patterns. This traditional clothing is more often bought for holidays because it is simply too expensive for everyday wear. It's no different for us either. And textile exports do not represent serious competition for this traditional clothing.

African clothing markets today are primarily dominated by low-cost and low-cost Chinese imports. The markets are flooded with new goods, but they are of low quality. Some of the textiles also contain substances that are harmful to health.

And what role do old clothing imports now play in the African markets??

It is now assumed that the export or trade of used clothes tends to have income-generating effects locally in Africa. A lot of items of clothing have to be ironed on, most of them are sewn around. This creates jobs for people with low incomes, such as seamstresses. We assume that in East Africa alone, for example, several hundred thousand jobs depend on the trade and processing of used clothing.

Why then the import ban that the East African Community decided on two years ago when so many jobs depend on the used clothing business?

The argument was that they wanted to build their own industry. At first it sounds logical and it was grist to the mill of those who criticize the export of used clothing. But if you take a closer look at how this decision came about, you quickly see that the whole thing came about under pressure from the Chinese, who want to secure their sales markets for new goods.

In fact, the import ban has already been partially reversed because it simply ignores people's reality. Many used clothing dealers protested against these regulations. There were also considerations that in the event of an import stop, the used clothes would cross the green border and customs revenue would then be lost for the East African Community.

Will the import stop come in 2019 or will it be suspended for now?

Rwanda is still adhering to this import ban; all other countries in the East African Community, namely South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi, have suspended it.

What can we consumers here in Germany do to ensure that the old clothes that go to Africa actually have value?

The quality of donated clothing has been declining for years because the trend is towards fast fashion, because people who buy clothes today consistently only buy according to fashion. Fashionable appearance, latest collection, less quality. Today people actually buy according to their mood and clothing has degenerated into a purely disposable item. And there is our appeal as a development policy organization to consumers to buy clothing more consciously, to buy high-quality clothing and to wear this clothing for as long as possible. And not just after the first season or after wearing it ten times to put it in the clothes container. Clothing must be worn for as long as possible and be of high quality so that it can be used sensibly.

When we sort the clothing we collect, less than half of the donated clothing can actually be reused as clothing. More than half are no longer acceptable from a quality perspective. It must be further processed into secondary raw materials, which is also ecologically important and correct. It's good that these textiles exist for this. But you would have to start much earlier - consume less, wear clothes longer and buy higher quality clothes so that this pile of old clothes doesn't arise in the first place.

How does Aktion Hope differ from other non-profit collectors?

Aktion Hope is the only nationwide collector in Baden-Württemberg that has subjected itself to the criteria of the umbrella organization FairWertung. FairWertung is a nationwide association of over 130 non-profit organizations that have adhered to the strictest standards in the collection and sorting of clothing. All sorting operations are externally audited. Attention is paid to social standards in sorting, environmental standards, import and export regulations are checked - and, very importantly, the proceeds generated from the trade in used clothes are donated exclusively to charitable purposes.


ASA Autumn School in Stuttgart

Sustainable business must be learned. From October 22nd to 26th, young entrepreneurs from Africa and Germany will meet in Stuttgart.

Participants in the ASA Autumn School for Sustainable Entrepreneurship learn in workshops and coaching what they need to be successful social entrepreneurs. This includes, among other things, knowing how to create a business plan or how to successfully present your own company in three minutes. The focus of this year's ASA Autumn School is on the topic of digitalization and sustainable development.

Mutual exchange and exchange with experts play an important role. The excursion to the SAP headquarters in Walldorf near Heidelberg also serves this purpose.

The highlight and conclusion of the ASA Autumn School for Sustainable Entrepreneurship is the ASA Kaleidoscope. It brings together actors from business, politics, science and civil society. Together with the participants of the ASA Autumn School, they discuss topics related to global sustainable business and network with each other.

This year's Autumn School for Sustainable Entrepreneurship of Engagement Global's ASA program will take place for the first time in 2018 in cooperation with the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ).


On the road in Bangladesh – textile production on site

“We are returning home from our trip to Bangladesh with mixed feelings,” says SEZ employee Maria Gießmann. "On the one hand, a lot has happened since the Rana Plaza accident, but on the other hand, Bangladesh remains one of the lowest wage countries in the world."

She was part of a group that spent a week in the first half of September visiting various textile factories and other facilities in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.

The initiator of the trip was Axel Schütz from the Friedrich-von-Alberti-Gymnasium Bad Friedrichshall. He was accompanied by several students from the school, representatives of various companies from the fair fashion sector, a representative of Aktion Hope, a film team and Maria Gießmann and Philipp Keil from the SEZ.

The textile sector in Bangladesh is divided into two parts. The part that produces for export has been “heavily monitored” since the factory collapse in 2013, in which more than 1.100 people died, reports Maria Gießmann. As a result, social standards for workers have now been significantly raised and working conditions have improved. The current topic is increasing the minimum wage, which is currently around 50 euros per month. This is what an untrained seamstress gets.

The situation is different in the area where production is carried out for the domestic market. According to experts, not much or nothing at all has improved here in recent years. The same applies to the entire supply sector.

In Bangladesh, the automation of textile production has already begun, as Maria Gießmann has learned. It will continue to progress over the next few years, and the result will be massive job losses in the country's textile industry.

Further information about the Bangladesh trip can be found here here.

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