Very few African immigrants head major German companies. One of them is Amadou Diallo, the CEO of DHL Freight.
In the following DW video, he tells his story and what he thinks about the way immigrants are treated in Germany.
“I’m from Senegal where you have to fight to succeed. If you want to succeed when negotiating you have to be tough,” Mr Diallo says.
He points that in Germany foreigners are usually treated like people who can’t do much.
“Everyone who comes here and has skills should be treated with respect, you never know what a person can do,” Mr Diallo says.
Mr Diallo has proved that through hard work immigrants can achieve so much in Germany. Today he heads the DHL Freight Operation on the road and rail network, and is in charge of 15,000 employees around the world.
He came from a poor family and he recalls that his father always insisted that they had to be best in school. Mr Diallo went to school in Senegal, France and the US, and now speaks six languages fluently.
He now lives in Bonn with his family and travels around the world for work.
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Mr Diallo is ambitious and a tough negotiator. He may already be a boss but he doesn’t show any sign of resting on his laurels, the narrator says.
He also uses his success to give something back. Mr. Diallo is Chairman of the supervisory board of Amref Health Africa in Germany. This is the largest African health development non-governmental international organisation based in Africa, committed to improving health and health care in Africa.
Mr. Diallo criticizes the way newspapers give Africa negative coverage, mainly focusing on catastrophes, etc. “Africa has more opportunities than catastrophes.”
Mr. Diallo, who is one of the few African immigrants to become head of a major German company, finds it shameful that so many Africans in Germany end up driving taxis or cleaning houses. He wants immigrants to get more respect.
Many people from Africa with degrees ending up driving taxis in Germany because of lack of opportunities or simply because they that’s what they accept. “I couldn’t accept settling as a cab driver,” he says.