SAFRI – SOUTHERN AFRICA INITIATIVE OF GERMAN BUSINESS
Jürgen Schrempp has a special relationship with Southern Africa: He worked there for Mercedes-Benz for twelve years between 1974 and 1986. South Africa has become a second home for him. He experienced the zenith of apartheid and the problems associated with the policy of sanctions. He is, and continues to be, directly involved with the changes that took place in this extraordinary and fascinating country on the African continent.
Today, not only South Africa but the entire region is in a state of emergence – and not just politically. The region’s culture has become noticeably more vibrant and creative and economically the rules of the market economy are beginning to take hold. The success of the Football World Cup in 2010 put the focus on South Africa and the entire Southern African region. Through this event billions of people worldwide gained interesting and inspiring impressions that left them with a positive image of the region. Much has been achieved so far. But the fight to save their future is not over for the states in Southern Africa. And this is where the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) is planning to come in.
SAFRI’s history began in 1996 when, at the suggestion of former German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business under the chairmanship of Jürgen Schrempp, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Federation of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), and the Africa Association (AV) were founded.
SAFRI wants to strengthen the region through closer economic cooperation and by helping people help themselves. It also aims to draw the attention of the German public to the economic potential of the 15 SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries with their roughly 240 million inhabitants. Increasingly, positive political and economic advancement means that there is hope for steady growth in the long-term – despite setbacks caused from time-to-time by natural catastrophes and poor decision-making. Above all, SAFRI is hoping to gain a greater commitment from German industry, supported by international players such as the European Union and the G8. More than 500 companies have now come together under the SAFRI name to strengthen the international competitiveness of the Southern African region.
SAFRI, through promoting investments and know-how transfer, will also contribute to the integration of the SADC countries in the world market. Schrempp firmly believes that in the long term it is beneficial for Germany and its economy to tap new markets and gain new partners – politically, economically and from a human point of view.
Some of the projects of the SAFRI initiative:
• Creating jobs for locals and training youth;
• Promoting tourism, such as the PEACE PARK project, which protects the area’s natural habitat;
• STEP, a project that helps university graduates gain
practical vocational experience; and
• The J2Ex program, which promotes entrepreneurial
know-how and competitiveness.
For more information www.safri.com
The Peace Park Foundation, founded in 1997 by Dr Anton Rupert, President Nelson Mandela and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, is an organization that aims to re-establish, renew and conserve large ecosystems in Africa, transcending man-made boundaries by creating regionally integrated and sustainably managed networks of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs).
“WE HAVE HOPE IN THE FUTURE OF AFRICA.”
Angela Merkel, Former Chancellor of Germany
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana.