At the International Supply Chain Conference, Prof. Helmut Baumgarten – who has been addressing the challenge of humanitarian logistics from a scientific perspective for many years – brought together a number of committed speakers under the heading "From Humanitarian Logistics to a Marshall Plan with Africa".
The Marshall Plan of the German government is geared towards achieving a fundamental change in development cooperation with the countries of Africa and encompasses all the key areas of the economy and education, such as infrastructure, transport and logistics activities, and educational systems. The speakers in the specialist session moderated by Prof. Baumgarten were Prof. Klaus-Michael Kühne, President of the Kühne Foundation, Martin Ohlsen, former Director of the Transport and Logistics Division at the UN World Food Programme, Dr. Stefan Oswald, Head of Subsaharan Africa at the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Economic Development, Dr.-Ing. Martin Keßler, Engagement Manager at McKinsey, and Dr. Corinna Franke-Wöller, Head of the Agency for Business and Economic Development. Dr. Stefan Oswald read out a detailed statement by Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, in which the Minister wrote that "a Marshall Plan FOR Africa would be "business as usual". What we need is a Marshall Plan WITH Africa: a proposal to achieve the goals of the Agenda 2063 through partnership-based cooperation. The aim must be to implement these Africa solutions together."
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The multi-year large-scale projects create major challenges for investors, planners and operators. The goal is to empower the individual African economies so that they can participate in economic and social processes in the world on an equal footing in line with the principle of helping others to help themselves. Baumgarten is convinced that logistics service providers as well as logistics experts in industry and trade can and should play an important role in this process. "The Marshall Plan explicitly promotes the involvement of industry in the form of investment and entrepreneurial creativity. There is no doubt that functioning logistics is a necessary precondition for economic growth, education and a higher standard of living. Logistics encompasses infrastructure and transport. Investors, planners, operators and consultants are called upon to make their contribution to the process. Africa has the potential to grow into a major market in the long term. Germany is a leader in the development of logistics and not only has commercial interests but also a social responsibility", says Baumgarten.
BVL has been involved in the area of humanitarian logistics for many years now. The association has hosted two platforms for working groups in this area – one in the period from 2010 to 2011 headed by Prof. Helmut Baumgarten, and a second one from 2012 to 2013 led by Prof. Bernd Hellingrath. These working groups succeeded in bringing together the logistics experts from aid organisations and the logistics industry. In addition, humanitarian logistics has been a regular topic in the programme of the International Supply Chain Conference. In 2015, BVL recognised the efforts of the German Army, the Technical Relief Service (THW) and the German Red Cross in the field of humanitarian logistics during the refugee crisis.