German political parties criticize DEG development bank over ties to tax havens

German political parties have criticized the KfW subsidiary DEG ('Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft'), a development bank dedicated to the support of private companies in developing countries, after reports found that nearly US$900m of German development funding by flows through so-called offshore financial centers like Mauritius and the Cayman Islands. Since 2008, DEG increased the share of funds passing through tax havens by an eightfold. According to Germany's left-wing and green political parties, this practice means that development cooperation inadvertently supports shadow financial institutions.

However, DEG insisted that due to the high costs of keeping the funds in Germany, the use of tax havens is a necessary condition to maintain assistance to developing countries.

News article – Tagesspiegel (in German)


German development minister calls for European internal market to open up to Africa

German development minister Gerd Müller has called for the European internal market to open up to African products, in order to promote growth in Africa and reduce poverty on the continent. In a reaction to Müller's suggestion, Süddeutsche Zeitung journalist Michael Bauchmüller argues that is not the lack of access to the EU market that is harming the economy in Africa, but EU exports flooding African markets and hampering the development of an African export market.

Despite its tremendous growth in recent decades, Africa's share of  global trade is only at 2%, while the EU has a share of almost 40%. 

News article - Welt (in German)

News article - Süddeutsche (in German)


German development minister calls for 'radical thinking' on use of natural resources

According to the Global Footprint Network, August 1, 2018 is this year's 'Earth Overshoot Day' (EOD): the day in which humanity’s resource consumption exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. From this EOD onward, resources are consumed at the expense of future generations. To mark this occasion, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called for a 'radical rethinking' of consumption and advocated for the end of the exploitation of natural resources.

According to Global Footprint, this is the earliest in the year that humanity has ever reached EOD. According to Greenpeace, the German government is obligated to act: supermarkets in France, for example, are already being mandated to donate, compost, or use food waste as animal feed.

News article – ZEIT (in German) 

News article – HAZ (in German) 


The United Nations faces 2018 budget shortfall

The United Nations (UN) is missing around US$810 million in expected budget support for 2018, with only 112 of 193 members states having paid their annual contributions. UN Secretary-General António Guterres warns that he has "never faced such a difficult cash flow situation this early in the calendar year", as the core UN budget runs a US$139 million deficit as of June 2018. Among those 81 countries that have not paid their annual contributions are poorer countries such as Niger and conflict-affected states such as Syria and Afghanistan, but also wealthier countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) calls it a scandal that nearly half of Member States have not yet paid their UN contributions and that important programs to crisis-affected regions may be called into question. Germany is the fourth-largest contributor to the UN, behind the US, Japan, and China, and paid its contribution of around US$155 million in February 2018.

Tweet - BMZ

News article - Devex

News Article - Zeit (in German)

Germany Global

German development bank KfW spends record amount of US$8.8 billion in 2017

German Development Bank KfW released details of its annual report for 2017, with spending reaching record-breaking levels of US$8.8 billion (€9.7 billion) for refugee and development-related projects. This was nearly €1 billion more than in 2016, with the increase largely driven by additional support for Africa and the Middle East.

The bank's focus is mainly on climate and environmental projects, with 55% of all new commitment going to this sector. A large share of the budget was also used for short-term humanitarian projects. Following recent criticism on environmental and social risks of some projects, the bank committed to be more transparent, and to enlist the help of external experts to better manage risks. 

News article – Frankfurter Rundschau (in German)


German Development Minister advocates for new EU Commissioner for Africa post

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has made a case for creating a post for an EU Commissioner for Africa, who would drive a coherent Africa policy. According to Müller, the African continent is economically promising and Europe will miss out on opportunities for partnership and investment if it does not change its budget priorities.

From 2021 to 2027, the EU will allocate just US$35 billion (€39 billion) to Africa. In contrast, according to Müller, China and Russia are currently investing heavily in the region.

News article – Frankfuter Allgemeine (in German)

News article – Zeit (in German)

EU Germany

German interior minister launches 63-point master plan for migration

German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) has presented his highly disputed master plan for migration, a 63-point action plan aimed at organizing, managing, and limiting migration to Germany. The Migration Master Plan includes measures in countries of origin and transit to improve living conditions and stabilize the local security situation. It further includes national measures and measures at the European Union level.

German development cooperation is intended to play an important role in implementing the master plan. German investments in infrastructure, education, and job creation are intended to create perspectives on the ground and thereby contribute to “fighting causes of migration”.

Press release - Federal Ministry of the Interior (in German)


Germany increases 2018 development budget by €900 million

Germany has finalized its 2018 federal budget, which includes a €900-million increase for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This brings BMZ's budget to a total of €9.4 billion.

Germany also drafted its 2019 federal budget, with plans to further increase BMZ's budget by €284 million. This comes contrary to initial plans, which presented a decrease. According to development minister Gerd Müller, this increase is welcome, but still represents a 0.03% drop in the ODA/GNI ratio between 2018-2021 (from 0.51% to 0.48%).

The German government had initially agreed to increase development and defense spending at a ratio of 1:1. However, by 2022, BMZ should receive an additional €2.8 billion, while the German Ministry of Defense will experience a much larger injection of €6.2 billion. This imbalance has been heavily criticized by civil society.

Press release - Epo (in German)

News article - Taz (in German)


German development minister urges governments to act on global nutrition at World Food Convention

On the occasion of the World Food Convention, which took place on June 26, 2018 in Berlin, German development minister Gerd Müller highlighted the need for 'World Nutrition 2.0', a push to apply known technological solutions to combat hunger. According to Müller, these solutions include an innovative agri-food sector, more local value creation, and a fair agricultural and trade policy. He also proposed integrating North African countries into the common European economic area to promote agricultural trade and create greater benefits for German taxpayers. 

The World Food Convention focused on sustainable food security and resource management in emerging markets, as well as strategies to eradicate hunger, poverty, and unequal distribution of opportunity.

Event website - World Food Convention

Tweet - Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (in German)

Speech - Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (in German)

Germany Agriculture Nutrition

German development minister demands improvement of crisis support in Africa

In an interview with newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, German development minister Gerd Müller called for a US$10-billion United Nations (UN) emergency fund and a 'European-Africa offensive' that includes significant funding increases in the next EU budget to contain crises in Africa, such as that in South Sudan.

According to Müller, the EU Commission's current proposal to invest €1 billion more in EU foreign and development policy is 'far from sufficient' to meet the challenges of the continent. 

Interview - Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)(in German)

Press release - ONE (in German)