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Third round of “Afrika kommt!” initiative Bosch is fostering young talent in Africa An initiative of German industry

  • 21 scholarships for budding business leaders from sub-Saharan Africa
  • More than 3,000 applicants in third year
  • German federal president Joachim Gauck is initiative’s patron
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  • August 06, 2013
  • HR and CSR issues
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press release

Stuttgart – An opportunity for Africa: Bosch is one of 16 companies fostering budding business leaders in Africa with the “Afrika kommt!” initiative. Thanks to scholarships offered by these companies, 21 talented young people from sub-Saharan Africa can spend a year in Germany completing a professional training program. During their stay in Germany, the African scholarship recipients will have the chance to expand their personal networks, participate in training opportunities, get to know German culture, and broaden their international horizons. The program includes nine months of specialist training at the participating companies, and also entails intensive language training. An extensive series of weekend events will be offered as part of the program by both the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Stuttgart, whose events will emphasize training and civic commitment, and the Zeit Stiftung in Hamburg, which will focus on culture and the media.

At a reception for the budding African business leaders in Berlin, Joachim Gauck, the German federal president and patron of the initiative, praised the program. He noted that the initiative supplements classic development cooperation with personal contact and business interaction to help boost economic development within African countries themselves. The initiative is being supported by the federal foreign office under the auspices of the federal government’s strategy for Africa, and also involves the participation of German embassies in sub-Saharan Africa. “Afrika kommt!” was initiated by Tilman Todenhöfer, a managing partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG. As Todenhöfer explains, “Our goal is to foster mutual exchange and learning between budding African business leaders and companies.” He believes this offers an important basis for the expansion of business relations between Europe and Africa. “We want to establish long-term cooperation from which everyone can benefit.”

Increasing applicant numbers
For the initiative’s third round, more than 3,000 applications from highly-qualified junior managers were submitted. A demanding selection process whittled down the shortlist to 85 candidates from 17 African countries, from which 21 scholarship recipients were chosen. “The support of the federal president, the increase in applicant numbers, and above all the high quality of the applications received are highly encouraging, and strengthen our resolve to keep this program running,” Todenhöfer said. “Despite all its political and economic challenges, Africa has great potential, particularly for multinational companies. We have to take advantage of these opportunities.”

The participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Tanzania come from a variety of sectors, including finance, marketing, engineering, and science. They all have several years of job experience, and some used to work in management positions in their home countries. Kelechi Udeozor, a 28-year-old from Nigeria, is one of them. Beginning in October 2013, he will spend nine months at Bosch in Karlsruhe, gaining experience in the Automotive Aftermarket division. The participants will travel back home at the end of June 2014. The initiative has a long-term orientation: participants can join an alumni network in order to maintain an active exchange with each other and with the participating companies. In early 2015, a two-week follow-up event will take place in Germany.

About the “Africa kommt!” initiative
The “Afrika kommt!” initiative was launched in 2008 as a joint effort of 19 German companies and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Since then, 37 participants have completed the program. The program is planned, organized, and assessed by GIZ, while the partner companies cover the program’s costs. The budding business leaders from the sub-Saharan region of Africa – 49 of the 54 countries on the continent – receive a stipend to cover their living costs for the duration of their time in Germany.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

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PI8231 - August 06, 2013

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