The study trip to Germany for Gambian startups, multipliers and decision makers dealt with the question of how the macroeconomic concept of the social market economy can promote a dynamic private sector. In addition, the focus was on startups as drivers of economic development. The Africans visited the capital Berlin and the Hanseatic city of Hamburg from 28 July to 3 August 2019. Particular focus was placed on an exchange of ideas on startups and SMEs, opportunities for joint ventures and a dialogue on approaches by German startups in the agricultural sector. The German organiser is the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), which since February 2018 has been the first and so far only German political foundation to carry out activities in Gambia with local partners. In Hamburg, the Career Center of the University of Hamburg provided particular support.
The Gambia is one of the smallest countries on the African continent and has been in an ongoing democratic transition process since January 2017. More than 60 percent of the population is younger than 25 years, the unemployment rate is estimated at over 60 percent. The country also ranks 173th (out of 189) on the United Nations Human Development Index. However, there are many opportunities for political and economic development in Gambia, as there is an inspiring and aspiring scene of young entrepreneurs and start-ups with a strong commitment to economic development and innovative ideas.
During their visit to Harburger Schloßstraße, the Gambian delegates were welcomed by beyourpilot project manager Philipp Walter and founding consultant Dr. Bettina Otto. After a round of introductions and a detailed tour of the premises, the Hamburg-Innovation staff reported on how the city sees the need to promote entrepreneurship among the students and what role beyourpilot should play in this.
The Gambian startups, mainly from the agricultural sector, are looking for training, partnerships and capacity building programmes. The exchange programme should also contribute to a better understanding of the political and economic system in Germany and give new impetus to German-Gambian bilateral relations.