Germany, which invests $ 10 billion dollars every year in the continent, 90% of which is shared between Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa, is now planning to boost its trade relations with Sub-Saharan countries. Therefore, it announced, during the German-Togolese spring last April, the creation of a “German-afro-francophone” chamber of commerce and industry. For Alpha Barry, Burkina Faso Foreign Minister, African States must diversify trade relations with other countries, and in this case with Berlin. Interview
Interview by Blamé Ekoué
What is Burkina Faso’s interest in Germany, by associating itself with the initiative of creating a “German-French-speaking African countries” chamber of commerce?
As you know, Germany is the leading economic country in Europe and we wanted to capitalize on this German-Togolese meeting to boost cooperation between Burkina Faso and Germany. In addition, our Head of State, accompanied by Burkinabe businessmen, recently visited Berlin. The idea of creating a German-French-speaking Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry will boost not only cooperation between our countries and the leading economic country, but also trade on both sides. I would like to point out that the long-term goal of this initiative is to create a chamber of commerce open to all African countries.
What does Burkina Faso benefit from such an initiative?
Burkina Faso is seeking above all to attract foreign investment and of course access the German market. When I talk about investments, it means German companies will invest in Burkina Faso through this framework, which will consolidate mutual trust. Actually, the problem that always arises with the Germans in business is linked to trust, as they don’t know Africa well, especially not as much as our traditional partners, France and Great Britain, which know our States well – given the historical relations you know. But for us, the countries that have never had a relationship in our history with the Germans, it is an opportunity to facilitate trade in all sectors. It will therefore be necessary to review our investment codes and re-adapt some reforms to the German environment to attract investors once the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is set up.
ANA: There is already a similar framework of “Franco-English-speaking African countries.” chambers of commerce and industry what is the interest of creating such a structure for French-speaking African countries?
This excellent initiative will enable our States to diversify trade and North-South relations. We, French-speaking African countries, traditionally for our trade, always think of France … but there are other partners, and as you know, Germany is Europe’s leading economic country. So opening up to this country is very important, especially at a time we are trying to diversify our trade relations with other countries. And then this will allow Burkina Faso to start a real cooperation with Germany, following our participation in this very beautiful initiative: the German-Togolese Forum. That is why we were keen to attend it – and today, we would like to pay tribute to the innovative and regionalist vision of the Togolese authorities. Indeed, the regional character is self-evident in this project – and we are happy that the idea of creating a German-French-speaking Africa Chamber the entire sub-region could benefit from, came from our Togolese neighbor.