Donor Profile


Last updated: July 18, 2024


ODA Spending

How much ODA does Germany contribute?

Germany was the second-largest donor country among members of the OECD DAC in 2022.

Germany is the fourth-largest donor in proportion to the size of its economy. It spent 0.85% of its GNI on ODA in 2022, or 0.74% excluding in-donor refugee costs. Germany is one of the few European countries that does not offset the costs associated with hosting refugees with cutbacks in funding for global development.

How is German ODA changing?

Driven by increased contributions to multilaterals, bilateral support for Ukraine, and in-donor refugee costs, Germany's ODA rose to historic 0.85% of GNI in 2022, up from 0.77% in 2021. Germany's ODA levels have been elevated since 2020, initially by additional funding from its domestic COVID-19 supplementary budget.

2023 was the fourth year that Germany has reached the 0.7% ODA/GNI target. It had done so too in 2016, but fell short between 2017-2019. The rise and the meeting of the ODA/GNI target coincides with considerable financial commitments by the Germany government during the pandemic and the following surge in-donor refugee costs related to the reception of refugees from Ukraine.

Total ODA increased by almost 7% between 2021 and 2022 in real terms, due to an increase in Germany’s bilateral and multilateral ODA spending to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of vaccine donations.

After Germany’s ODA level reached record-high levels in 2020 to 2022, driven by Germany’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ODA decreased to US$33.6 billion in 2023 and is projected to decrease further to US$28.3 billion in 2024, in line with a decreasing budget for the BMZ. Following an increased share in in-donor refugee costs in 2023 connected to the large influx of refugees from Ukraine, it is likely that in-donor refugee costs will remain significant in 2024.

Where is German ODA allocated?

The German government has a strong preference for bilateral funding. In 2022, bilateral funding accounted for 82% of total ODA, well above the DAC average of 68%. This includes earmarked funding through multilaterals. Germany’s preference for bilateral funding is driven by its two large government-owned implementing agencies, the GIZ and the KfW. Germany channels only 6% of its bilateral ODA through NGOs, less than half of the DAC average of 14%.

Germany channels the largest share of its bilateral ODA as grants, totaling 79% in 2021, below the DAC average of 92%, with the remaining 21% disbursed as loans and equity investments, down from 25% in 2020. The responsibility for administering loans is assigned by the BMZ to the KfW.

Bilateral Spending

In response to the influx of asylum seekers to Germany since 2015, spending on humanitarian assistance and migration has increased significantly from pre-2015 levels. The cost of hosting refugees in Germany has almost doubled between 2021 and 2022 and accounted for the largest share of Germany’s bilateral funding in 2022.

The absolute share of Germany’s bilateral ODA towards education remained stable at around US$3.4 billion between 2021 and 2022, but dropped down from the largest share of bilateral spending to the fifth-largest share in 2022. However, more than half of these costs are allocated for students from partner countries studying in Germany and thus does not support partner countries directly.

Agriculture has been a priority for German development cooperation for several years, and funding to the agriculture sector has more than doubled since 2018. However, the sector receives a relatively small share of bilateral ODA, only 5.6% in 2022. Additional ODA for agriculture comes from Germany’s contributions to multilateral organizations.

The portion of bilateral ODA going to LICs is relatively low compared to other DAC donors. Current spending also falls short of Germany’s ambition to spend 0.2% of ODA/GNI on LICs, which was reaffirmed in the 2021-2025 Coalition Agreement. In 2022, only 0.1% of GNI was spent on ODA to LICs.

Asia received the largest share of Germany’s bilateral ODA in 2022 (13%), followed by the MENA region (12%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (11%).

ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a recent drop in the budget allocation, from 16% in 2021 to 11% in 2022. While Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA region remain focus points due to the commitment to fighting the root causes of migration, Ukraine has received more funds from the German government. German ODA to Europe rose to 5% in 2021 and to 10% in 2022.

Germany channels 36% of its bilateral ODA to MICs, with Ukraine, Indonesia, and China comprising the largest individual country recipients. However, most funding to Indonesia (85.4%) and about half of funding to China (55.3%) is provided in the form of loans or equity investments.

The top recipients of German grant funding are Ukraine (almost exclusively grants), the Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, and Afghanistan. This is in line with Germany’s support for Ukraine and the BMZ’s prioritization of partnerships within the MENA region.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Before 2013, the German parliament capped multilateral spending at one-third of total German ODA. Although this cap has since been lifted, core funding to multilaterals remains significantly lower than the DAC average of 32%. Like many EU Member States, the largest recipients of Germany’s multilateral funding in 2022 were EU Institutions. Germany is also among the largest donors to Gavi, the Global Fund, and UN agencies. In October 2023, at the Bonn Conference, Germany pledged an additional US$2.1 billion to the GCF.

Germany’s earmarked funding to multilaterals, which is channeled through multilateral development organizations for use in a specific sector or country, has increased significantly in recent years. The financial contribution to the European Commission's Development Budget has increased by more than 50% between 2018 and 2022 and remains with a very clear margin the largest recipient of Germany´s ODA share for multilaterals.

Recent commitments to multilateral organizations are summarized below.

Politics & Priorities

What is the current state of German politics?

Germany is a parliamentary democratic republic. Political power is divided among three branches:

  • The legislature, which includes the Bundestag, or parliament, and the Bundesrat, the representative body for Germany’s regional states;
  • The executive branch, including the Head of Government, the Head of State, and the Cabinet; and
  • The judiciary, which is independent of the other branches.

There are elections for the Bundestag every four years. The political parties with the largest share of votes are the CDU, with its sister party, the CSU, and the SPD.

Olaf Scholz ( SPD) is the current chancellor and has been in office since December 2021. The SPD party won a plurality of seats in the Bundestag during the 2021 elections and formed a coalition with Alliance 90/The Greens and the FDP. The governing coalition is committed to an ODA quota of at least 0.7% of Germany’s GNI and plans to channel 0.2% of the country’s GNI to so-called LDCs.

Under the Chancellery, which is responsible for determining policy guidelines, the BMZ sets development priorities. Development Minister Svenja Schulze ( SPD) has led the BMZ since December 2021.

The BMZ is organized across six Directorates-General. The regional subdivisions allocate Germany’s bilateral development assistance according to the BMZ’s strategy and priorities. Sectoral subdivisions formulate Germany’s sector strategies, interface with multilateral development institutions, and advise on bilateral programs.

Germany’s two major state-owned development agencies, the GIZ and KfW, operate under the political supervision of the BMZ. Both play key roles in policy development, priority setting, and implementation.

  • GIZ plans and executes Germany’s technical cooperation with partner countries. GIZ also provides consulting services to the BMZ’s sectoral divisions through its ‘sector initiatives,’ or Sektorvorhaben.
  • KfW leads on Germany’s bilateral financial cooperation with partner countries. It receives funding from the BMZ and raises its own funds on capital markets.

The BMF, led by Finance Minister Christian Lindner ( FDP) develops caps for the federal budget and individual ministerial budgets. This makes it an important stakeholder when it comes to ODA levels, the BMZ’s budget, and long-term ODA contributions.

Who are the key individuals involved with German ODA?

Click for more details on each actor.

What are Germany's development priorities?

The government’s 2021-2025 Coalition Agreement lists the following development priorities:

  • Global Health, especially One Health and the fight against poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases;
  • Global health R&D;
  • Gender equality & SRHR;
  • Agriculture, Climate, and Social Protection; and
  • Multilateralism, Security, and strengthening relations with the African continent.

Since 2014, part of the BMZ’s budget has been channeled through ‘special initiatives’, programs spearheaded by the development minister. There are four special initiatives for 2024:

  • Transformation of agricultural and food systems;
  • Refugees and host countries;
  • Stability and development in the MENA region; and
  • Good employment for socially just change.

In December 2021, Svenja Schulze ( SPD) took office as the German Development Minister, after serving as the Minister for the Environment under the last government from 2018-2021. Schulze focuses on implementing a feminist development policy, climate mitigation and loss and damage, and social security. Schulze also promotes the reform of the World Bank and a broader reform of the global financial architecture to better meet current needs, known under the Bridgetown Agenda. In 2022, her priorities were largely influenced by the war in Ukraine and its global effects, especially on food security.

The political discourse continues to be dominated by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and its domestic and international consequences. Three days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Scholz announced the Zeitenwende, meaning "turning-point," or "watershed," including far-reaching policy shifts for Germany such as the creation of a EUR100 billion ( US$118 billion) special fund for the military to invest more than 2% of GDP on defense.

Germany is facing a budget crisis for 2024 and beyond. The 2024 federal budget faced delays due to a Constitutional Court ruling in November 2023, reinstating the debt brake, and prohibiting the repurposing of unused debt. This left the government with a significant budget shortfall, with EUR17 billion ( US$18 billion) for 2024 alone. The subsequent budget negotiations resulted in a 3.4% increase in the overall budget, but ministries like the BMZ and the AA saw severe cuts, impacting Germany's ODA. The BMZ's budget was reduced by 7.7%, affecting various funding areas. Similarly, the AA experienced a 20% decline in its budget for peace and stability, including funding for humanitarian assistance. These cuts are expected to hinder Germany's ability to reach its 0.7% ODA/GNI target for 2024.


Germany’s 2024 budget: Massive ODA cuts after a fiscal odyssey

On July 17, 2024, the German coalition government approved the draft 2025 federal budget. The total 2025 budget amounts to EUR480.6 billion ( US$506.1 billion), a 2% cut compared to the 2024 budget, below the previously estimated budget shortfall. The budget of the BMZ was reduced by EUR937 million ( US$987 million) and the budget of the AA by EUR836 million ( US$880 million) for a total of EUR19.8 billion ( US$20.9 billion) in cuts. Additional cuts were achieved through technical solutions. The budget is set to be approved by Parliament in November 2024. Intense debates are expected, as budget allocations for topics such as defense and development cooperation are considered insufficient by many parliamentarians.

Overall, the German government advocates for a holistic approach to human security and supports multilateral solutions. The government’s security policy focuses on a triad of foreign, defense, and development policies. The BMZ initiated a platform to strengthen Germany’s engagement in the reconstruction of Ukraine in March 2023 and has set up an emergency program for Ukraine with a current volume of EUR1.3 billion ( US$1.3 billion) (as of April 2024), which is expected to be further expanded throughout the duration of the war to address the increasing need for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Germany is planned to host the Ukraine Recovery Conference in June 2024.

Under its latest G7 Presidency in 2022, Germany launched three initiatives:

  • The GAFS, which aims to increase funding for and coordinate international efforts for food security;
  • The G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness, a global network of health experts, aims to strengthen and align efforts for worldwide pandemic readiness; and
  • The Global Shield Against Climate Risk, which aims to scale up climate risk financing, improve climate resilience and preparedness, and promote the development of rapid solutions in the case of climate-related damages. The initiative is supported by the V20 was launched at COP27 in November 2022.

By issue

The BMZ has set out four focus areas for its bilateral and multilateral development cooperation from 2023 onwards:

1. Enabling global health and physical self-determination by supporting:

  • Resilient health architecture;
  • Access to vaccines and medical supplies;
  • One health;
  • Primary health care; and
  • SRHR.

2. Eradicating poverty and hunger by:

  • Fighting the acute hunger crisis;
  • Fostering sustainable nutrition systems;
  • Limiting inequalities concerning the distribution of wealth, resources, and rights;
  • Building social security systems; and
  • Supporting vocational training and good jobs.

3. Supporting a just energy transition vis-à-vis:

  • Expansion of clean and safe energy;
  • Climate-just employment;
  • Social-ecological transformation of the economy;
  • Adaptation to climate change and loss and damage; and
  • Climate-friendly cities.

4. Establishing a feminist development policy that foregrounds:

  • Anchoring feminist principles and gender equality in nearly all (93%) of new BMZ’s programs by 2025;
  • Strengthening political, social, and economic participation and equitable access to resources; and
  • Promote gender mainstreaming in international and multilateral initiatives and institutions.

Global health is an important issue for Germany’s development policy and was highlighted in Germany's G7 and G20 presidencies in 2017 and 2022, respectively. In line with Germany’s strong international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pandemic response and preparedness have been a focus since 2020. The BMZ established a new subdivision entitled Special initiative for pandemic and global health, pandemic prevention, One Health. Under Germany’s 2022 G7 presidency, a G7-Pact for Pandemic Readiness was initiated to strengthen and align efforts to bolster worldwide pandemic readiness.

Read more about Germany’s ODA to Global Health

Climate protection has been emphasized by the BMZ as a ‘cornerstone’ of German development policy and increased in focus in recent years. Within this sector, the BMZ focuses on supporting LMICs in climate change mitigation, especially through enhancing the energy transition in these countries. Germany entered into so-called ‘Just Energy Transition Partnerships’ with South Africa in 2021 and with Indonesia and Viet Nam in 2022. In 2023, Germany reported that it had exceded its US$6 billion climate finance pledge two years ahead of schedule, and published multiple statements urging other donors to follow its example in paying their fair share of climate finance.

Germany has also published a strategy on foreign climate policy after COP28. Germany's climate foreign policy strategy aims to address the changes brought by the climate crisis, emphasizing the importance of swift, ambitious, and cooperative action on a global scale to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. Through a multilateral approach anchored in frameworks like the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, Germany seeks to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental pollution while promoting social justice and economic prosperity. This strategy , guided by principles of sustainability and international cooperation, prioritizes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the transition to renewable energy, and the protection of vulnerable communities, ecosystems, and global health, aiming to strengthen resilience, peace, and security worldwide.

In April 2024, the BMZ published a strategy paper on Preserving our natural livelihoods. The BMZ announced that it will increase Germany's commitment to international biodiversity conservation to EUR1.5 billion ( US$1.6 billion) annually by 2025, as part of the EUR6 billion ( US$6.3 billion) per year for international climate financing. Germany's whole-of-government strategy on climate foreign policy defines accelerating the global energy transition; making the economy more fair and climate-proof; protecting lives, livelihoods and health; sustainable use of ecosystems; resilience peace and security; and climate resilient development as priority action areas.

Read more about Germany’s ODA to Climate

Gender equality

German development minister Svenja Schulze ( SPD) set a feminist development policy as one of her main priorities when she took office in December 2021. Schulze prioritizes development projects that involve women on an 'equal footing' wherever possible. In March 2023, the BMZ published a new strategy on feminist foreign policy, which was accompanied by the third Gender Action Plan, introduced in December 2023. The strategy applies an intersectional approach, specifically mentioning disabled people, Indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQI+ community.

Read more about Germany’s ODA to Gender Equality


Agriculture was one of the strategic priorities of former Development Minister Gerd Müller, who in 2014 launched ONE WORLD - No Hunger, a special initiative on food and nutrition security and rural development. The special initiative, now called ‘Transformation of agricultural and food systems,’ has been carried into the 2021-2025 legislative period under the development minister Svenja Schulze.

Read more about Germany’s ODA related to Agriculture


In line with Germany’s special initiative on vocational training and jobs, higher education and vocational training is prioritized. These objectives are mainly supported through bilateral development cooperation.

Read more about Germany’s ODA related to Education

By region

According to the BMZ’s partnership model, introduced by the BMZ 2030 Reform, bilateral partner countries are categorized by different partnership models. As of April 2024, the BMZ cooperates bilaterally with 65 countries. With its bilateral partners, the BMZ pursues joint long-term development goals. Bilateral partner countries in the EU neighborhood focused on political and economic transformation are considered ‘transformation partners’. ‘Global partners’ is a category composed mainly of MICs, where cooperation focuses on cross-border issues, such as climate change. With ‘nexus and peace partners’, the BMZ aims to work on the causes of conflicts and flight and promote stability and peace.

North Africa and SSA: The German government's development approach across the African continent focuses on promoting economic development and the creation of jobs, digitalization, climate mitigation, and participation of women.

In January 2023, the BMZ published its Africa Strategy, titled Shaping the future with Africa. It is an update of the previous government’s strategy Marshall Plan with Africa, published under Minister Gerd Müller in January 2017. The updated strategy aims to supplement the development goals set by the AU and its member states, work together with African partners on the global transformation toward a decent and secure life for all in an intact environment, and to cooperate visibly and in solidarity with Africa in times of crisis.

The strategy focuses on six thematic priorities:

  • Sustainable economic development, employment, and prosperity;
  • Overcoming poverty and hunger and building social security;
  • Health and pandemic prevention;
  • Feminist development policy and gender equality;
  • Rule of law, democracy, human rights, and good governance; and
  • Peace and security.

Latin America and Caribbean: The collaboration of the BMZ in Latin America and the Caribbean is largely focused on climate and environmental protection, as well as supporting just energy transitions. Indigenous communities and women thereby play a central role, in line with the BMZ’s feminist development policy. Columbia, Mexico, and Brazil and were the largest recipients of Germany’s ODA in the region in 2022. The BMZ published in June 2023 a position paper on Perspectives with Latin America and the Caribbean for working together for ecological change and social justice.

Asia: Even though the SSA and MENA regions are priorities for the BMZ, Germany allocates the largest shares of its bilateral ODA to Asia. In Asia, the BMZ works mostly with regionally influential MICs including Indonesia, China, India, and Viet Nam. The BMZ’s work in these countries seeks to address global issues such as climate change by leveraging their large populations, economic strength, and wealth of resources such as tropical forests, biodiversity, and commodities.

The BMZ published a paper in December 2023 on the development cooperation with Asia and focuses on the promotion of sustainable economic development with a focus on the transition to a green economy and the creation of employment prospects. The employment of women and disadvantaged population groups is also promoted.

Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Southern Caucasus: The BMZ partnership model consists of three categories: Bilateral Partners, Nexus and Peace Partners, and Global Partners. Cooperation aims to support the long-term development goals of partner countries and enable them to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. Particular attention is paid to transformation partners that are supported in political and economic transformation, for example, the integration into the European market and to support income and employment opportunities and processes to strengthen democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and a free market economy.


What are the details of Germany's ODA budget?

Germany’s ODA is sourced from the budgets of different ministries. The largest share of ODA comes from the BMZ, totaling 48% in 2021, the latest year for which total ODA data is available from the BMZ. The AA, which manages most of the funding for humanitarian assistance and UN peace missions, accounts for 15% of ODA. Another 4% is raised from the BMG, as well as the KfW on capital markets, and 9% is the ODA-eligible share of Germany’s EU budget.

The federal budget for 2024 was finalized in February 2024 and projects spending worth EUR476.8 billion ( US$516.6 billion). This is an increase of 3.4% (EUR17.6 billion or US$19 billion) compared to the federal budget in 2023. The delays ensued following a November 2023 Constitutional Court ruling that prohibited the German government from repurposing unused debt for future expenses. The verdict reinstated the so-called debt brake, a fiscal rule limiting additional governmental loans to 0.35% of GDP, meant to guarantee sustainable financing. The court's decision left the German government with a significant budget shortfall for the next years, with EUR17 billion (US$18 billion) for 2024 alone. Despite that, an increased budget was possible, due to higher tax and administrative revenues than originally expected and other measures.

Despite the increase of the overall budget, the spending for the BMZ’s 2024 budget was cut and stands at EUR11.2 billion ( US$12.2 billion), which is EUR940 million ( US$1 billion) less than was allocated to the BMZ in 2023. The draft budget set BMZ spending at EUR11.5 billion ( US$12.5 billion) in 2024.

An additional budget envelope outside the ministries' core budgets, known as 'Budget Plan 60', supports global crisis response, including aid for COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but it was not included in the 2024 budget.

The multilateral budget envelope was less affected by cuts of the 2024 budget compared to other envelopes of the BMZ. While the ministry's budget was a reduction of -7.7%, the multilateral spending was reduced to a lesser degree, coming to a minus of 5.7%, falling from EUR2.4 billion ( US$2.6 billion) to EUR2.3 billion ( US$2.5 billion).The bilateral spending on the other hand was cut by 10.5% in comparison to the previous budget. The UNDP received one of the highest increases, coming to a plus of 35%, bringing Germany’s allocation from EUR75 million ( US$81.3 million) to EUR100 million ( US$108.3 million). UN Women received an additional EUR3 million (US$3.3 million), coming to EUR20 million ( US$21.7 million) (+18%). This decision fits within the ministry’s priority on gender equality, also emphasized within Germany’s feminist development policy and the recently published BMZ Gender Action Plan. The WFP was significantly impacted, with a notable -26% reduction compared to 2023, dropping from EUR78 million ( US$84.5 million) to EUR58 million ( US$62.8 million).

Additionally, the downward trend of the BMZ’s budget is anticipated to continue in the upcoming years. Minister of Finance Christian Lindner ( FDP) has announced in his medium-term financial planning that the BMZ will have to expect further reductions. This is caused by the income shortfall and stricter fiscal rules caused by the debt brake. In the 2025 draft budget, ministries affected by cuts included the BMZ, AA, and BMWK, which saw cuts totaling EUR19.8 billion ( US$20.9 billion) for 2025.

Read more about Germany’s 2024 Budget

The BMZ’s budget is composed of different budget envelopes, including:

  • The Bilateral development cooperation envelope includes budget lines for major regions and is broken down by annual allocations to specific country programs;
  • The European development cooperation, UN, and other international organizations envelope includes budget lines for multilateral organizations related to climate change and biodiversity, global health multilaterals, and various UN programs; and
  • The Multilateral development banks envelope includes contributions to the World Bank Group, as well as the AfDB and ADB.

How does Germany determine its ODA budget?

The German fiscal year corresponds to the calendar year.

The Donor Tracker team, along with many DAC donor countries, no longer uses the term "foreign aid". In the modern world, "foreign aid" is monodirectional and insufficient to describe the complex nature of global development work, which, when done right, involves the establishment of profound economic and cultural ties between partners.

We strongly prefer the term Official Development Assistance (ODA) and utilize specific terms such as grant funding, loans, private sector investment, etc., which provide a clearer picture of what is concretely occurring. “Foreign aid” will be referenced for accuracy when referring to specific policies that use the term. Read more in this Donor Tracker Insight.

Our Germany Experts

Kristin Laub

Kristin Laub

Senior Consultant