Promosalons Deutschland and INTERMAT Paris, the Inter-national Exhibition for Construction and Infrastructure, organized the event “Growth opportunities for the German construction industry in the French-speaking market: France, Algeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast” at Business France in Düsseldorf on Thursday, 16th November 2017. Lectures, recent market surveys and field reports illustrated the current development in the construction industry in France and in these African countries as well as the related growth opportunities for German building companies. About 25 participants from the construction industry, institutions and press came to catch up on the latest developments and projects.
Outlook for the INTERMAT Paris 2018 and the francophone markets
Raphaele Tromelin, Communication Manager of the INTERMAT Paris, introduced the 2018 edition’s innovations and presented the construction industry’s perspectives in the French and African markets. In France, they arise in particular due to the headline project “Grand Paris” which aims to expand the city and its infrastructure future. Here, investments in new housing projects amount to approx. 42 billion € and to about 25 billion € for the new Metro system “Grand Paris Express”. Other major building projects are planned in the cities of Lyon (“La Transalpine”) and Calais (port). Regarding the French-speaking markets, the construction industry in Algeria, with a growth rate of 5.7 % (2016) and a concentration of state investments in the construction sector of 70 % – housing and road construction – proved to be very dynamic. Due to its political stability and economic growth, Morocco is considered to be the most attractive African country (acc. to EY-Barometer). More than 15 new cities are to be built by 2035, and a high-speed railway line as well as the expansion of the Smart City “Cité Mohammed VI Tanger Tech” are planned by 2027. The national development plan expects a growth in the construction sector in the Ivory Coast of 9.8 % – huge projects are the port of San Pedro and the Metro network in Abidjan. The INTERMAT Paris highlights the growing potential of the African countries, and with its international orientation, it offers a platform to reach these markets.
The growth opportunities for German construction firms in the French-speaking markets
Christoph Kannengießer, Managing Director of the German-Africa Business Association presented different “Reasons why entering the francophone markets of Africa is worthwhile for German companies“. Due to the enormous growth in population, the building sector is faced with growing demand for new housing and, at the same time, for expansion of the infrastructure. The positive aspect is that governments want to invest heavily in the expansion of roads, bridges and smart traffic. “Africa is the continent of the future”: Today, the orientation towards Africa is as worthwhile for the German economy as it was to enter the Chinese market twenty years ago, since it provides huge opportunities for German construction companies.
In his lecture, Heinz G. Rittmann, Managing Director of the Deutscher Auslandsbau-Verbands (DABV) examined the chances and challenges of Africa as a construction market for German construction companies. Due to their technical and organizational knowhow and skills, they provide development opportunities for the African markets. “German companies will not go to Africa alone,” he emphasized. The DABV recommends that African and German partners form joint ventures to cooperate in building projects. As the African market also represents a challenge with regard to language, culture and mentality, the DABV provides consultation to German construction companies and supports them as a mediator.
“For German construction companies, Africa is exotic and new,” continued Dominique Cherpin, General Manager of Promosalons Deuschland and host of the event. Here, France can be an “stopover” on the way to these markets.
Carola Vogel, representative of the Reschwitzer Saugbagger Produktions (RSP) GmbH, concluded the lectures with a field report on the company’s successful entry into the French market. The company has established a worldwide network with 23 partners. In 2012, a subsidiary was founded in France in order to provide short delivery routes and direct (repair) service. This was immediately adopted by the customers, and the RSP GmbH opened up further to French-speaking countries, e.g. Morocco.
The exchange between participants and speakers after the lectures showed the great interest of the construction sector for the French-speaking and African markets.