“White African”: Born in Congo, Grew Up in Ghana Now Wants to Give Back to Africa

Christian Roman Gutzwiller

Accra, Ghana, February 12, 2020//-Christian Roman Gutzwiller popularly known as “one of the first non native white African” is a man who never hides expressing his love for Africa and its people in private and in the open.

The hospitable Christian Roman Gutzwiller was born in Congo Belgian now Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1957, during an expedition of his father, who acted as explorer in the African Jungle for the Belgian Colony Services.

His father was later transferred to Ghana where young Gutzwiller grew up, until he was 20 years old.

Narrating his story to African Eye Report, he said: “My growing up was completely in Africa. I didn’t feel a challenge at all; it was like in Paradise for me in Congo and in Ghana”.

“My father was later assigned from the Swiss government to UN/FAO as Regional Forestry Officer for Africa in Accra/Ghana, and my mindset was completely open to Africa and Europe”.

For me as a child, it was quite the same. The only main difference I felt was the time factor. In Africa in those days time meant nothing, in Europe however, you always felt pressure”.

People in Africa were very kind with a good robust culture and heritage. He came along very well and still has friends from his youthful days in Ghana, connected over social networks.

GHABA Workshop

The main challenge for him was the changes in moving 39 times in different places around the world in his life, up to now. Although, Mr. Gutzwiller is a Swiss citizen, he has been living in Austria since 2009, married to an ex. Austrian ski downhill racer of the Austrian National Ski Team, Mrs. Ingrid Gutzwiller-Gfölner.

Friends say: “Snow-Queen met Jungle-Boy. Lot´s of power still unleashed”.

Giving back to Africa

He stated emphatically: “Now, as independent consultant, practically semi-retired, I want to give back to Ghana and Africa, what Ghana gave me in my youth, when I was attending the Swiss German School in Accra, Ghana”.

As a “white African in his heart”, Mr. Gutzwiller stands for developing Africa to create new jobs directly in Africa and to accelerate trade and commerce between European Union (EU) and Africa.

Studied Economics and Business Administration (BBA/MBA) at the University of Tübingen, in Germany, he stands as an “Ambassador to Bridge EU – Africa”, as Africa got completely forgotten on the European continent in the past decades post colonization.

Mr. Gutzwiller who is an accomplished entrepreneur started to bring back to Ghana and Africa his expertise in several fields including IT infrastructure, finance industry, healthcare services and consulting businesses since 2014.

He supported highly motivated and excellent educated students, however still at that times unemployed, to build up their own companies in Ghana and other parts of Africa and to create new jobs without investing any money, but with an high investment of wisdom/know-how and time.

“I achieved this, by identifying high potentials and talents, resulting in the existing Executive Director of Ghana Austria Business Association (GHABA), Emmanuel K. Eduam, to bring him into function as CEO of GHABA, including additional staff and independent consultants (www.ghaba.net)”.

Emmanuel Eduam

After successfully establishing GHABA, Mr. Gutzwiller sought about the next impact he could provide to Ghana and Africa, which resulted with the Trans Africa Railway Corporation (TARC) initiative as his main vision for Africa.

He explained that TARC would connect all capital cities of Africa with a railway, as a prerequisite for the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) to enable the free transport of goods, services and people all over the continent.

It will be the main infrastructure contribution for every citizen and company of the African Union (AU) which will have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of all AU countries.

This right will be enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the AU on behalf of AfCFTA, similar to the EU.

When did it start?

“We started in August 2019 with the Initiative TARC, by pulling together some very bright minded people within Africa and from the Africans in the Diaspora, including myself”, Mr. Gutzwiller, said.

Since then they have been working on that project to make the dream comes true for Africa. For instance, the USA (Wild West) was economically developed only with the railway from East to West in the 17th – 18th century.

Same will happen for Africa in the 21st century. Moreover, investors are investing huge amounts of money in flying to the Mars; why not invest even less than 5% of that in the African continent to accelerate trade and commerce within Africa? He asked.

As a build operate and transfer (BOT) project, it will be completely centrally managed and operated to ensure value for money, the project manager assured.

How feasible is TARC?

In his words: “The feasibility is very high, once there is that commitment achieved at the AU-level, that it contributes to the Agenda of Africa beyond 2063, the commitments of each African State involved in TARC and the commitment of the targeted investors”.

A pre-requisite is however, that all the African countries stand behind this very impactful TARC initiative. Without that, nothing will move forward, according to Mr. Gutzwiller.

The TARC project which is estimated to cost between $300-400 billion, can be released, as soon as above mentioned conditions are met, he stated confidently.

While the technical feasibility on the African continent is also possible with the newest railway technology, Mr. Gutzwiller added.

Another great benefit of the project he mentioned is its contribution to the carbon dioxide efficiency of the African continent and the impact on the world will be enormous: “Cargo by vessel and air-transport will be minimized by augmenting cargo by railway”.

We are in the minds of a complete ‘mindset change“ and our timing is perfect with AfCFTA coming soon into operation. Why building cars in Africa and not change right to Railways? How about new railway construction in Africa? Just to save the automotive Industry? Wrong approach!”
CO2 efficient Railway Infrastructure is much more important to economy and people. Support #TARC and not the automotive Industry. Mind change is important now and in future, he stated.

Mr. Gutzwiller maintained that the year 2020 is solely planned to get all related commitments on the part of AU and at each African country Level.

The energy in that project is very positive and high, it`s visible to every stakeholder, that it will bring the most impact in Africa.

This will surely change the face of Africa. He and the team behind this huge project are transformational. Africans do not have that common understanding yet. There is still so much division. If that understanding can be induced, then so much can be achieved.

“The Trans African Railway Corporation is one of the most significant developments on our lifetimes. Take a moment and really look at the continent. This is what we should be doing. The US-President wants to build a wall – only – to leave behind an aging man´s warped sense of legacy”.

GHABA Team

Instead, it´s the infrastructure that needs to be built”. Mr. Gutzwiller used the opportunity to thank visionaries, investors, and the African people for their unflinching support towards the project.

“Being one of the first non native “White Africans”, born and grew up in Africa, I would very much appreciate if I would get an African Passport to travel all over the African continent for the TARC project, without going through cumbersome constraints of applying for Visas, among others”, he wished.

Legacy

As an entrepreneur, Mr. Gutzwiller wants to be remembered as the first investor in Africa to create new jobs without having invested any money but only know-how.

By doing so, he convinced the Austrian Government by changing the Development Aid to Africa in transferring and implementing the Austrian “dual education system model” to Africa.

Hence, young chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria was the first one to start with the EU –Africa Summits in Vienna and Bruxelles in the last two years.

Another legacy he wants to be quitted to the African continent is to provide the most significant impact on the continent by building now TARC to accelerate trade and commerce between Africa itself and the EU and Africa.

This will help to bridge the actual gap between EU and Africa in finding a complete new momentum for both continents which are natural neighbours, but only separated by the Mediterranean Sea.

Advice

Mr. Gutzwiller who has over 18 years in business management advised young African entrepreneurs never giving up and to constantly push to improve the quality of all processes they face in the development of their business. “Giving up is not an option”.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report

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