Africa has taken on new strategic importance for German companies. To be successful in Africa, you need to not only have innovative products that address local market needs, but also put a clear focus on sustainability – and be open to strategic local partnerships.
The BEB Award 2012 honored four companies for their "successful and sustainable business strategies in Africa."
||The BASF Group has been active in Africa for 90 years. Today the company has more than 1,000 employees in Africa (excluding the oil and gas business) who are working closely together with local customers. In North Africa, BASF is represented in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The key industries are construction, textiles, agriculture, automotive and the healthcare and plastics sectors. The BASF Group company Wintershall has been producing oil onshore in Libya since 1958, and it is also involved in an offshore oilfield. In South Africa, BASF has production facilities for emission catalysts, construction chemicals, coil coatings and polyurethane plastics. Innovative solutions are being launched in close collaboration with BASF's customers. A production site for dispersions is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012. BASF's new corporate office in Nairobi opened at the end of 2011 and is the starting point for the company's activities in East Africa and Sub Sahara. The company’s target is to more than double sales in Africa by 2020. Its sales, excluding oil and gas, were around EUR 1 billion in 2010. BASF was represented by Dr. Harald Schwager, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, who accepted the BEB award on behalf of his company.
||With six offices between Cairo and Johannesburg plus various divisions in its head office in Frankfurt, Commerzbank supports more than 500 banks and other institutional clients in Africa, making it the no. 1 among German-speaking banks for corporate business in Africa. Commerzbank has been active in Africa for 60 years now and maintains business ties to 50 of the 54 countries on the continent. The bank works mainly with governments, local banks and central banks. It handles 11% of all euro payments originating in Africa and is the leading bank for handling German foreign trade. Customers profit from Commerzbank's products, including Islamic banking products, government bonds, commodity hedging and electronic currency trading platforms. The bank also organizes seminars as a forum for transferring know-how to its business partners. This trust-based cooperation between Europeans and Africans has paid dividends: Commerzbank can effectively support its European business customers in African markets. It is also expanding at an impressive rate in Africa, enjoying double-digit growth in countries where it has no direct branch and even more growth wherever it has its own branches. The BEB award for Commerzbank AG was accepted on behalf of the bank by Ulrich Sieber, Member of the Management Board with responsibility for Africa.
||Linde has been working in Africa for many decades now and employs more than 4,000 people there. With 17 offices in African countries, Linde is firmly anchored on the continent. The company operates as an engineering service provider and a developer and operator of industrial plants. It is also the leading supplier of industrial gas on the continent, with annual sales of around EUR 600 million. Linde provides its customers with individual training and guidance programs. Being close to the market and its customers has paid off for the firm: Its engineering activities have expanded in Africa, with sales almost doubling in 2011 compared to the previous year. Linde AG was represented by Professor Dr.-Ing. Aldo Belloni, Member of the Management Board with responsibility for business in Africa.
||Siemens is an expert in emerging markets: It is present in 190 countries and has been in Africa since 1860. From its beginnings in South Africa, where it built a telegraph connection between Cape Town and Simon's Town, the company can look back at more than 150 years of successful business activities in Africa. At the heart of its strategy is building a local presence and a tight network in local markets. Siemens' core competencies – energy, medical technology, industry and infrastructure solutions for cities and large urban areas – are an excellent fit with the challenges facing Africa: around 560 million Africans currently live without electricity, more than 300 million have no access to clean drinking water and over half of the population have no access to modern healthcare. The company's success speaks for itself: the Siemens Africa cluster today comprises more than 50 countries and sales have long since exceeded the one billion euro mark. The award for Siemens AG was received by Siegmar Proebstl, CEO of Siemens Africa.