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BGV-Managing Director Rittmann as Expert at great EU-Africa-Forum

DUSSELDORF/GERMANY, April 9, 2014 - Economic growth and increasing cooperation between Europe and Africa were then main topics during the 5. EU-Africa Business Forum held at Brussels. The deputy chief executive officer of the Baugewerbliche Verbände and managing director of the Deutsche Auslandsbau-Verband, Heinz G. Rittmann, rated among the 450 participants.

The president of the EU-commission, Manuel Baroso, and EU`s council-president Herman van Rompuy emphasized during their speeches, that Europe will take Africa more intensely into its focus. The Business Forum was something like the prelude to the even greater political EU-Africa-summit at Brussels.

There had been more than 1,500 registrations to the forum, but the organizers invited only some 450 experts. Heinz Rittmann was one of the only halfdozen Germans there. Overall delegations from 90 states took part, including four heads of states and numerous ministers. Rittmann`s main interest aimed at the panels which dealt with the participation of the private sector and especially of the small and mediumsized enterprises in the expansion of the infrastructure in Africa and with a favourable climate for investments. Rittmann said, he would have met many partners of earlier projects of BGV and that he established a lot of new contacts. The decided opinions of the EU-representatives would have pleased him, that the private sector´s activities in Africa will be backed even more.

Along these lines Andris Piebalgs, EU-commissioner for development, announced the EU would “modernize” its economic aid to the developing countries. The role of the private sector should be strenghtened. The vicepresident of the commission, Antonio Tajani, added: “Africa is proceeding. Economically the continent is one of the most growing regions. Europe is very interested in extending the trade and investment activities to the benefit of growth and employment.” For Africa Europe actually is the most important trading partner.

Van Rompuy declared: “We count on the private sector. The companies should contribute their ideas and knowledge so that the economic relations between Europe and Africa will become a success story – to the benefit of the people.” The council president quoted an African proverb: “If you want to get ahead fast, go alone. But if you want to get ahead far, join with others.” To him there would be no doubt “that in our globalized world we want to get ahead far with Africa”.

During the summit which took place after the Business Forum, German chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Our neighbour continent gains a lot in importance”. She made the case for “looking at first on Africa`s chances and not at first on its problems”. The EU wants to expand the trade and wants to give private enterprises incentives to invest more in Africa. Many countries there are economically very successful and attractive as trading partner. The German government has announced to add 100 million Euros to its de-velopment aid budget for Africa. The sum is then 1.3 billion Euros which means that more than 50 percent of the whole German development aid budget goes to Africa.