This profile has been updated in March 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • Germany frames its development policy under an overarching narrative of “fighting the root causes of displacement”. The 2017-2021 coalition treaty focuses on fair trade, Africa, gender and education, social and health systems, poverty, and climate change, with particular attention to the Middle-East and North Africa.
  • During its 2017 G20 presidency, Germany has demonstrated strong leadership on global health (similar to its G7 presidency in 2015) by including health on the G20 agenda for the first time.
  • Germany seeks to deepen its focus on Africa. During its G20 presidency, Germany spearheaded discussions on increased public and private investments in Africa. It works on these issues through two major initiatives: the ‘Compact with Africa’, launched in 2017, and the ‘Marshall plan with Africa’, an initiative which focuses on stimulating private investments in Africa and supporting countries which implement good governance reforms.
Key opportunities
  • After federal elections in September 2017, negotiations to form a government were finalized in March 2018. Due to lengthy government formation, the 2018 national budget has not been discussed yet in Parliament. Both the 2018 and 2019 budgets will thus be up for review later this year, and expected increases in ODA have not been fully allocated yet.
  • The ‘Marshall Plan with Africa’ and the ‘Compacts with Africa’ suggest increased ODA to African countries which are open to implementing good-governance reforms. The focus on Africa is confirmed in the Grand Coalition’s agreement for the 2017-2021 legislative term.
  • The Foreign Office’s continuously high budget line for humanitarian assistance and crisis prevention (€1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) in 2018 and €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) for 2019 to 2021) provides further opportunities for organizations working on these topics to get access to parts of this funding.  

Key Questions

the big six

Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan is the site of a ‘cash-for-work’ program for refugees funded by Germany. Germany has increased its ODA to the Middle East and North Africa to support refugees and tackle the ‘root causes’ of displacement.



How will Germany's ODA develop? — What will Germany’s ODA focus on? — What are key opportunities in 2018 for shaping Germany’s development policy? read more

How will German ODA develop?

  • The Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) budget, which accounts for about 30% of total German ODA, has significantly increased from €6.5 billion (US$ 7.2 billion) in 2015 to €8.5 billion (US$ 9.4 billion) in 2017. BMZ’s budget is expected to further grow to €8.7 billion (US$ 9.6 billion) for 2018 to 2021. In the 2017-2021 coalition treaty, the ‘Grand Coalition’ has agreed on an additional ODA increase of €1 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) until 2021 (likely €250 million (US$ 277 million) in additional funding on top of the financial planning per year). Despite emphasizing the 0.70% ODA/GNI target in the treaty, expected ODA growth would not be enough to reach this goal.
  • Starting in 2017, costs of hosting refugees in Germany are significantly decreasing from 2016 levels, meaning that Germany's ODA as a share of GNI will likely return to approximately 0.52% in 2018 onwards, unless the BMZ budget significantly increases. The coalition treaty explicitly mentions that ODA/GNI levels should not fall below the planned 2018 level (0.52% ODA/GNI).

Which development sectors will be in focus?

  • Displacement and migration will remain key focus areas, with a geographic focus on the Middle East (in particular Syria and its neighboring countries), North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Agriculture and nutrition security (in the context of poverty eradication), as well as climate change, are likely to remain key priorities, as Gerd Müller has been reappointed as Development Minister.

What are key opportunities in 2018 for shaping Germany’s development policy?

  • Angela Merkel's Conservatives (CDU/CSU) won the federal elections in September 2017. Coalition negotiations between parties have been unusually difficult. After the failure of the so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition (Conservatives, Greens, and the market-liberal FDP), a renewal of the Grand Coalition between Conservatives and Social Democrats was reached in March 2018. A new political leadership in key ministries could change strategic priorities, offering opportunities for organizations to shape German development policy.
  • Development Minister Müller announced that his ministry seeks to invest an additional €1 billion to implement the Marshall Plan with Africa in 2018 and 2019. If confirmed, this may open opportunities for organizations to access some of this additional funding.


Further readings

Government sources

Other official sources

Civil society sources