At a vocational school in Accra, girls are taught electrical engineering.

At a vocational school in Accra, girls are taught electrical engineering., © Thomas Imo/photothek.net

15.02.2018 - Article

Germany's competitiveness on the global market is of increasing importance. Its attractiveness for foreign investors is crucial, for their investments create or preserve jobs and help further develop technology.

The globalization of the economy further increases Germany's dependence on the world market. Yet at the same time, globalization means that people's lives all over the world are ever more closely interconnected.

The common responsibility of all states to ensure stable economic development for the benefit of everyone is becoming increasingly apparent, and in view of political conflicts it is more true than ever that trade and a dense network of economic links create trust and stabilize international relations.

It is therefore the task of Germany's foreign policy to both promote and protect German economic interests in the world and to help foster the further development of just and sustainable global economic cooperation.

Bilateral Business and Trade

One priority area of economic relations is cooperation in the energy sector. In August 2008, a memorandum was signed in Abuja, the founding document of the German-Nigerian Energy Partnership. Since then, the two sides have met regularly to promote joint projects. The focus is on the rehabilitation and further development of electricity production in Nigeria – especially by means of renewable energy – and greater involvement of German companies in tapping energy sources in Nigeria. At their meetings in July 2011 and April 2012, President Jonathan and Federal Chancellor Merkel reaffirmed both countries’ keen interest in the partnership.

But in other sectors, too, interest among entrepreneurs is growing on both sides. This is evidenced not least by the annual German-Nigerian Business Forums, which are organized by the German-African Business Association, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) or the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria and the Nigerian-German Business Association and held alternately in Germany and Nigeria.

Nigeria is Germany’s second most important trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa (after South Africa).

After some backdrops as a result of the global economic crisis bilateral trade has since recovered, reaching a new record of EUR 4.7 billion in 2011. Nigerian exports to Germany were worth EUR 3.4 billion (oil accounting for 95 per cent), an increase of 70 per cent. German exports to Nigeria grew by 18 per cent, to EUR 1.3 billion. The main German exports to Nigeria are machinery, motor vehicles, chemical products and electrical goods.

Germany ranks ninth among Nigeria’s export destinations. Among Germany’s foreign trade partners, Nigeria ranks 62nd for exports and 39th for imports (2011 figures).

A large number of German companies are active in Nigeria, operating either with their own offices or through partners. An agreement on reciprocal investment protection and promotion was signed in 2000 and entered into force in September 2007.

There is a Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, which is based in Lagos and was set up by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). German and local businesspeople have also joined forces to form the Nigerian-German Business Association (NGBA) with the aim of stepping up bilateral economic relations. The DIHK and the NGBA work together closely, both spatially and substantively, with the declared aim of setting up a German-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce.

Business Destination Germany

Germany is located in the heart of Europe, offers a highly developed infrastructure and a broad spectrum of qualified personnel.

Also Germany has a rich history of ideas and innovations that still have an impact on the world we live in today. 

Products with the “Made in Germany” seal stand for the highest quality worldwide. This has played no small part in maintaining Germany’s position as world champion exporter for many years. The automobile, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical sectors are particularly strong. 

Industries of the future such as environmentally friendly energy production and nanotechnology, in which the number of patent applications is doubling every two years, are steadily gaining in importance. Foreign investors can profit from the “Made in Germany” seal of quality.

Innovations “Made in Germany”

What do the jet engine, the beer and the nylon plug have in common?
All of them were invented in Germany!

Also, did you know that the x-ray technology was invented in Germany by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895? Or that the airbag is a German invention, which has saved countless lives since and is standard in most new production-cars all around the world.

There are numerous examples for German inventions and discoveries that are changing the world today, just as they did 500 years ago. Germany's unique collaboration of science and business has made it possible that ideas were able to turn into internationally successful products.

Below you will find a selection of German innovations as examples for products that have their origin in Germany.

1817: The bicycle

Karl von Drais (1785 - 1851) was especially taken by the “two-wheeler prinicple”. The bicycle was soon to become a success story worldwide.

1854: Light bulb

The clockmaker was well ahead od of his time. For in 1865, when Heinrich Göbel (1818 - 1893) caused bamboo fibers to glow in a vacuum, there was still no electrical grid. Today, some 350 million light bulbs are sold each year.

1861: Telephone

The era of revolutionary communication technologies commenced with Philipp Reis (1834 - 1874). A mathematics teacher, he was the first person to transform sounds and words into electric current that could be reproduced elsewhere.

1876: Refrigerator

On March 25, 1876, Carl von Linde (1842 - 1934) was awarded the patent for the first refrigerator, which used ammomia as cooling agent. In 1993, German company Foron introduced the world's first CFC-free “Green-Freeze” refrigerator.

1885: Automobile

They made society mobile: Carl Benz (1844 - 1929) and Gottfried Daimler (1834 - 1900). Today, over 46 million automobiles are registered in Germany.

1897: Aspirin

On August 10, 1897 chemist Felix Hoffmann (1868 - 1946) synthesized a white powder that was soon prove to be a “miracle treatment”: acetyl salicylic acid.

1930/ 1931: Television

On Christmas Eve 1930, Manfred von Ardenne (1907 - 1997)was the first person to succeed with an electrical television broadcast. Today, 95 percent of German households have a TV. Average viewing time per day is about 220 minutes.

1941: Calculator

Because he did not like maths task, Konrad Zuse (1910 - 1995) invented the first binary calculator: the Z3. The first computer managed four basic arithmetic functions in three seconds. It was the beginning of the digital age. Today, 240 million PCs are sold each year, alone eight million of them in Germany.

1963: Scanner

The inventor of the precursor to fax machines, Rudolf Hell (1901 - 2002), had first though of dividing texts and images into dots and lines back in the 1960s. His Hell telegraph system was the first to transfer texts and images over long distances. In 1963, he invented the first scanner for inputting colour images.

1969: chipcard

Unter Patent DE19 45777 C3, Jürgen Dethloff (1924 - 2002) and Helmut Gröttrup (1916 - 1981) opened the door wide to the information society. As a check card, phone card or patient card, the chipcard is a firm part of everyday life.

1995: MP3

Nowadays, it's impossible to imagine entertainment electronics without MP3 players. This methods of audio compression was developed by a team at the Fraunhofer Institute under Karlheinz Brandenburg.


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