Bonn (Germany), May 2021. This month Sannssi Cissé welcomed Bienvenue Angui to the Game Changer Chat. Bienvenue is the Director of the Mittelstand Alliance Africa and Deputy Head of Foreign Trade at BVMW, an independent association in Germany that represents the interests of small and medium-sized businesses to political bodies, trade unions and other potential partners around the globe. Bienvenue and Sannssi both are part of the African Diaspora – Bienvenue with roots in Côte d’Ivoire; Sannssi in Guinea – which gave them immediate common ground for understanding and sparked an great conversation.
We encourage you to watch the full interview on YouTube – but being mindful of your time, we summed up some of the key points for you in a less than 3 minute read. Enjoy!
KNOW YOUR PARTNER
“There is an existing private sector in Africa…but it’s different,” said Bienvenue who added that “We need to understand how things really works. We can find better points of contact and synergies when we work on equal terms.” Bienvenue also touched on the stereotypical narrative of Africa. “There is a very distored image. I always encourage people to go to trade fairs and forums in Africa to get a real understanding of how business is done in Africa… connect with African business people.”
THE “BIG” INFORMAL ECONOMY POSES CHALLENGES
“The informal economy poses so many challenges. It is so big!”
According to Bienvenue, the informal economy in Africa represents 85% of all workers in Africa, 50% being youth, compared to Asia with 65% and Europe with only 25%. “It’s problematic because the informal sector cannot create sustainable development…and as I said, it’s up to all of us to make our continent sustainable.”
BE BRAVE AND GIVE BACK
Sannssi asked Bienvenue how the Diaspora can get more involved and build bridges to ensure stronger economic cooperation. She suggested the African Diaspora should be “brave” and “more courageous.” “I am not a fan of money transfers. They create dependence,” said Bienvenue. “We have to get more independent. I think the Diaspora can make a contribution by getting involved on different levels. We should take the experience we gained abroad to create value and build bridges.”
Bienvenue ended the interview saying “What doesn’t exist in Africa today can become reality tomorrow. I encourage everyone to engage with the continent as there are so numerous untapped opportunities.”