Regional Initiatives

Acting globally

For a targeted promotion of the international trade of our companies: In order to enable German SMEs to operate successfully in and with foreign markets and to make the best possible use of the opportunities offered by global procurement and sales markets, the BGA has joined forces with the other leading associations of the German economy, the BDI, DIHK and the Banking Association, as well as the respective country associations in various regional initiatives.

Through our involvement in the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA), the North Africa Middle East Initiative of German Business (NMI), the Latin America Initiative (LAI) and the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI), we ensure that the interests and competencies of our members in the regions are given appropriate consideration. 

The partnership initiatives have high-ranking contacts to politics and business in Germany and in the respective regions, a strong expertise in the field and a broad network. Their joint presence and the bundling of the economic policy concerns of German business make them key players in cooperation.

The balance of power in our world is changing, and the Asia-Pacific region will play a leading role in this new world order, geopolitically and geoeconomically. The APA wants to – and will – shape this change together with its partners in the region and is committed to the convergence of the economies of Asia and Europe. We want to improve market access and expand trade and investment – also for Asian companies in Europe. The APA is building bridges between German companies doing business in Asia and politics in Germany as well as in our Asian partner countries.

The APA is a joint initiative and umbrella organization of leading business federations – the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the Association of German Banks (Bankenverband). The APA pools the economic concerns of German businesses active in the Asia-Pacific region and is an agenda-setter for crucial economic issues regarding the future of our cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region. The APA supports high-level economic talks during visits of Asian government representatives to Germany and during visits of the German Federal Government to Asia. One of the main events is the bi-annual Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business, co-organized with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Joe Kaeser, President & Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, assumed the chairmanship of the APA in February 2019. The Chairman is advised and supported by the APA Board.

The "Transatlantic Business Initiative" (TBI) is the latest regional initiative of the German business community and is supported by the BGA and three other leading associations of the German business community, the Federal Association of German Banks (Bankenverband), the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

The TBI works to strengthen economic relations between Germany and the EU as well as the USA and Canada. The aim is to talk openly about differences and find constructive solutions. The promotion of transatlantic relations is to be given a higher, and thus more appropriate, priority in Berlin and Brussels. The Transatlantic Business Initiative is to become the point of contact for economic policy issues, especially for the Federal Government and the governments of the USA, Canada and the EU institutions.
The topics of the TBI are manifold. Four steering committees are planned on the topics of trade and investment policy, energy and climate policy, data and the digital economy, and business and finance. With Till Blässinger, Managing Director of Josef Blässinger GmbH & Co. KG (LK Trade and Investment Policy), and Martin Jauss, Managing Director of Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG (SC Data and Digital Economy), the BGA provides the co-chair of two of the four steering committees. 

The aim of the Latin America Initiative is to improve the overall image of the region in Germany and to safeguard and improve the position of German business, especially that of medium-sized enterprises.

The Latin America Initiative of German Business (LAI), founded in 1994, is supported by the BGA, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Banks (BdB), the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Latin America Committee of German Business (LADW), the Lateinamerika Verein e.V. (LAV) and the Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) in Latin America. Chairman of the LAI is Dr. Reinhold Festge, personally liable partner of Haver & Boecker OHG.

For the coordination of the various activities in Latin America and in Germany, a Latin America Discussion Group (GLA) was established with the LAI sponsors and representatives of the German government, which meets regularly.

Approximately every two years, the LAI organises the Latin America Conference of German Business (LAK) and organises delegation trips and information events.

NMI is dedicated to fostering the bilateral business ties between Germany and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). By leveraging our relationships at the highest political levels in Germany and the MENA countries we aim to unlock the tremendous business potential through trade enhancement and investment promotion.

NMI represents the interests of German companies of various sizes and sectors in the MENA region. It pools regional activities and enables a concerted representation of German business interests vis-à-vis government and society in Germany, the European Union and the MENA countries. NMI builds on the expertise and the excellent network of its five member organizations and offers its consultative support in issues relating to economic policies, market access, foreign trade and investment. NMI further provides a broad variety of networking platforms (business roundtables, conferences etc.) on the occasion of visits by high-ranking government and business representatives in Germany and the MENA region.

NMI has been initiated by five leading German business organizations and their presidents:

  • Federation of German Industries (BDI)
  • Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK)
  • Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA)
  • German-African Business Association (AV)
  • Association of German Banks (Bankenverband)


Chairman of NMI is Ralf Wintergerst, Chairman of the Managing Board, Group CEO of Giesecke+Devrient.

The Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) is jointly supported by the BGA, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the German African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der Deutschen Wirtschaft). Under this regional initiative, the sponsors jointly aim to intensify economic relations between Germany and the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.

SAFRI’s aim is to promote sustainable and fair economic relations between Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa. For this purpose, the sponsors want to jointly:

  • improve the perception of Africa as a continent full of opportunities for the German economy,
  • advance the dialogue between German and African business and politics
  • and provide a platform for exchange between German and African Partners.


By combining the economic policy activities of all SAFRI sponsors, both the interests of the German industry in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the business and economic policy exchange between Germany and Africa gain more importance.

Against the backdrop of global challenges and the increasing economic importance of Sub-Saharan Africa in the world, it is essential to turn this change into a positive one, marked by collaboration, dialogue and partnership in line with our strategic mission and by building a bridge for people and their markets.

Chairman of SAFRI is Prof. Dr. Heinz-Walter Große, Chairman of the Management Board of B. Braun Melsungen AG.

Marcus Schwenke

Abteilungsleiter Außenhandelspolitik, Importförderung, Entwicklungszusammenarbeit

Am Weidendamm 1 a
10117 Berlin


Sebastian Werren

Abteilungsleiter Agrar- und Ernährungswirtschaft

Am Weidendamm 1 a
10117 Berlin