The Germany Africa Business Network- GABN – is a network with a team of experts in the field of e-Learning and Supply Chain Management. Wilfried Krokowski and Franck Jiongo about the goals and the projects of the GABN.

 

What are the goals and objectives of GABN?

Franck Jiongo: GABN is an expert in the field of supply chains. Most of our partners, colleagues and consultants are also lecturers at the university. Our main goal is to create the bridge between German and African companies. Further we also want to contribute to a sustainable business with our methodology, which is a pragmatic way. We would like to make a difference through bringing concrete projects.

 

How important is e-learning for the Germany Africa Business Network?

Wilfried Krokowski: For us e-learning is a very important tool to bring people together and exchange knowledge. We have seen during this pandemic that traveling is becoming more and more restrictive, but also it is a high cost factor. Thanks to the technology we have today it is very easy to handle e-learning all over the world. Especially in the last two years I had a lot of contact due to this online teaching, which I never had before in my whole life. 

E-learning is a fantastic tool. Of course, there are some parameters you have to follow. But in general, you can reach everybody. You can reach small companies and people in smaller countries that aren’t yet on the highest technological level. But even in these countries we can have access to the people. You can exchange knowledge and get good acceptance. The only things you need is a smartphone and an internet connection and then you can reach people all around the world. 

Most of the people want to travel and want to have face to face contact, but from an economical point of view it is a superior tool. The University of Kiel is a good example: we can bring the professors down to the countries with a minimum of work. Also, the investment for the technical equipment isn’t as expensive. And looking to the future, it will become more and more relevant.

 

One of the recent big projects of GABN was the HRDD webinar. What are the results and feedback of SME companies from this webinar?

Wilfried Krokowski: The HRDD Webinar is a good example of how valuable this new technology of e-learning will be.  You can use these types of webinars to get people from all over the world to exchange information and to bring the latest news to even the deepest country sides. On the HRDD Seminar row we reached out to over 100 companies from 5 different countries. We are seeing that also especially the SMEs were very thankful to use this medium and get the information. For most of them it was the first time to hear about these HRDD activities, which the United Nations and OECD has agreed to put in place. They are glad to hear what is behind these rules. 

For me it was a key issue in Tanzania that I received an email from a small organization- a women’s association of around six women- and they said:

We never thought of the connection between human rights and our business. And now we understand that this is necessary, and we must follow it.

They gave me a proposal- five people somewhere in Tanzania in the middle of nowhere. They have understood what is behind HRDD. They used their brain and made the first proposal on how they can fulfill these requirements. It showed us that we even reached the small villages and that was a big confirmation for me that we did it in the right way and it was accepted by the participants.

 

What are the upcoming projects of GABN?

Franck Jiongo: In that sense of what Wilfried said before we are also working on an Ecommerce event in Cameroon that will be held on the 11th of June this year. We would also like to show that e-business can be an opening for economic development in a country such as Cameroon. As well as for the local and international market. We would like to bring the major actors together to discuss how e-business can be essential for the development of a country like Cameroon. For that reason, we have invited a lot of companies. One of them will be a major logistic company from Ghana.

Because of the event called ‘Agro Fruits’, which we held last year we learnt about packaging. On that side we are also planning a packaging event. We would like to bring something real, something concrete, which can help companies to grow, to develop themselves. To that event we invited concrete companies, which are also working in Africa. This event will be one of the key points in resolving what the people expect of Cameroon.

Besides that, we are working on a project with the major manufacturing companies of mineral water filling machines. Additionally, we also started to collaborate with some manufacturing companies in Gabun, which is a country next to Cameroon, which we are very pleased about. These are the main projects for this year.

 Is there anything more you want to add?

Wilfried Krokowski: In my eyes there are a lot of organizations that are working on this interchange of knowledge between Africa, Europe and Germany. Our biggest difference to others is that we are bringing expertise from German and European companies together with the needs of the local companies itself. We are not only giving presentations on how it should be done, but mainly we see our work in real practical networking: To bring the right companies here in Europe together with the interesting companies and associations in Africa. To form a strong network that we can really realize practical projects and not only to fill out paper works but to come to established and communicated projects. That is our main goal. I think we are on the right track and let’s see what the next year will bring.

The interview was conducted on May 9th.

The e-business event took place successfully with 90 registrations and 50 actual participants as a hybrid event in Douala. The Cameroonian companies got to make new contacts and gain valuable insider information about e-business.

Find more information about the Germany Africa Business Network here: https://www.germany-africa.net/ 

Franck Jiongo

Wilfried Krokowski