German political party pushes to reallocate development funding to world's poorest countries

The market-liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) has requested to increase Germany’s support to the so-called least-developed countries (LDCs) to 0.15% to 0.2% of the gross national income (GNI). In 2017, the Federal Government had spent 0.66% of its GNI for development assistance, of which only 0.1% went to LDCs.

According to the FDP, German development cooperation is currently focusing too much on the countries that are economically and politically relatively stable, where successes of development assistance are quickly measurable. The current government, a coaltion of the conservative CDU/CSU and Social Democrats, committed in its coalition treaty to increase its support to the poorest countries to 0.2% of the GNI by 2030, but the FDP believes this change should be reflected in the current federal budget. German civil society organizations support the request of the FDP.

Newspaper Article – Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)


Germany lowers economic growth forecast

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) is lowering Germany's growth forecast for the current year to 0.5%. In October, Altmaier had predicted growth of 1.8 % upon which tax estimates were based. The reduction in the forecast significantly impacts tax estimates, which are now expected to be at least €10 billion (US$ 11.3) lower per year. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has already lowered the spending caps (“Eckwertebeschluss”) for the 2020 federal budget. In order to avoid a deficit, however, additional savings will be necessary, making an increase in the development and defense budgets--as demanded by the conservative membership of the current ruling coalition--unlikely.

Newspaper Article – General-Anzeiger Bonn (in German) 


German Federal State Bavaria opens an Africa office in Ethiopia

On April 15, 2019, the Prime Minster of the German Federal State Bavaria Markus Söder (CSU) traveled to Ethiopia to open the first Bavarian Africa Office in Addis Ababa, the capital. The office will be a focal point for the whole continent and serve not only as diplomatic representation for Bavaria, but as an economic lobbying office, and a space coordinate development activities. During his first trip to the country, Söder also visited a project in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, supported by the Technical University of Munich, whose aim is forest preservation and the protection of local biodiversity. It campaigns for stronger economic engagement of German and, in particular, Bavarian companies, with African nations like Ethiopia.

Newspaper Article – BR24


Total ODA of EU member states increases slightly

EU member state ODA increased slightly to $87 billion in 2018 compared to 2017, according to new data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Cost for hosting refugees in donor countries decreased by $3.4 billion, including $2 billion from Germany and $700 million from Italy, as the impact of the refugee crisis continued to recede. Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom remained the only EU countries to meet or exceed the internationally agreed ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. ODA rose in 17 EU donor countries, with Hungary showing the largest increase. Twelve countries saw a decline in aid spending, with the largest declines in Austria, Finland, Greece, Italy and Portugal. The EU and its Member States provide 57% of the world’s ODA.

News article - Euractive


OECD DAC preliminary data release shows ODA down by 2.7% in 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) has published preliminary data for 2018, showing that official development assistance (ODA) fell by 2.7% in 2018. The data release is the first to use the OECD's  new 'grant equivalent' methodology. Applied for the first time in 2018, the method aims to ‘provide a more realistic comparison of the effort involved in providing grants and loans and encourage the provision of grants and highly concessional loans, especially to low-income countries’.

Net ODA from DAC members reached US$153 billion in 2018. The largest donors in absolute amounts were 1) the US (US34.3 billion), Germany (US$25 billion), 3) the UK (US19.4 billion), 4) Japan (US$14.2 billion), and 5) France (US$12.2 billion). In relative terms, the largest donors were Sweden at 1.04% of its gross national income (GNI), Luxembourg (0.98%), Norway (0.94%), Denmark (0.72%) and the UK(0.7%).

For more detailed information on the performance of bilateral donors, see the OECD DAC's detailed summary here.

OECD DAC – Press release “Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries”

ONE Germany highlights failure to meet 0.7% ODA/GNI target in 2018

Following the release of preliminary 2018 data on official development assistance (ODA) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), ONE Germany criticized Germany's failure to meet its self-imposed 0.7% of ODA to gross national income (GNI) target. Even when calculated with the OECD DAC's new, more generous methodology for grants, Germany's ODA/GNI ratio stood at 0.61%. Germany met the 0.7% ODA/GNI target for the first and only time 2016, although this spending also included costs of hosting refugees in-country. In 2017, this figure dropped to 0.67%. 

At US$25 billion in 2018, Germany is the second-largest donor in the world in absolute terms. However, relative to GNI, Germany is the sixth-largest donor. 

Press release - ONE Germany


German civil society organizations publish report evaluating German development policies

The development organizations Terre des Hommes and Welthungerhilfe have published the report 'Kompass 2019 - The reality of German development policy', which takes a critical stance in the debate around the role, design, and strategies of German development cooperation. The report argues that the overall financial allocation and priorities of German development policies do not meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda and other relevant international agreements. Germany continues to fall short of the international goal of 0.7% spending on development assistance and funding for 'least-developed' countries is decreasing. The report also criticizes German development policies for focusing too much on migration issues and countries of origin, arguing Germany should focus more on the support of children in crisis regions.

Press release – Welthungerhilfe (in German)


French and German development agencies strengthen partnership

The director of the French development Agency (AFD) and Joachim Nagel of KfW, the German state-owned development bank, signed a memorandum of understanding reinforcing the cooperation between the two development institutions. The agreement aims to double the level of co-funding and the number of staff exchanges by 2022-2023.

The partnership sealed between AFD and KfW also provides for closer collaboration on several levels, concerning strategy, operations, knowledge-sharing, and joint communication. Both organization will jointly work effectiveness of foreign assistance, the international climate agenda, the environment, and the reinforcement of the European cooperation system. The partnership also considers further cooperation on geographic priorities - Africa and the Sahel in particular - and near neighbours in the Caucasus and Balkans.

Press release - French Development Agency

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Germany extends military mission in Mali and Somalia

Germany has announced it will extend its military mission in Mali and the coast of Somalia. Currently more than 1,000 German soldiers are involved in UN and EU missions. The German force in Mali will remain unchanged, while the troops in Somalia will be reduced by one-third. The resolutions still require the approval of the German Bundestag but are considered safe.

The UN Mission in Mali aims to support the peace process in Mali after the country's north temporarily fell into the hands of Islamist and other rebel groups in 2012 and an EU mission under German leadership to enable Malian security forces to provide stability in their country. The operation in Somalia serves to protect international shipping off the coast of Somalia from piracy, especially ships of the UN World Food Programme and the African Union Mission.

Newspaper article – Zeit Online (in German)


Germany to take over UN Security Council Presidency in April 2019

For the month of April 2019 Germany is taking over the UN Security Council presidency and is leading the committee for the first time in seven years in a dual presidency with permanent member France. Aside from addressing current crises and conflict prevention, Germany intends to prioritize the strengthening of international law, protection of humanitarian workers, arms control, and the political participation and protection of women.

Both France and Germany understand their respective chairmanships as a joint project and want to deepen European cooperation on the Security Council and set an example for multilateral cooperation in international politics.

Press release – Federal Foreign Ministry (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle