Once Merkel's protege, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer steps down as Germany's CDU party leader in wake of political outrage over cooperation with far-right AfD

On February 10, 2020, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (known colloquially as AKK) announced her intention to resign from her post as head of Germany's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), stating that she will no longer run for the chancellorship.

Once seen as a shoe-in to succeed Angela Merkel as Germay's head of government, AKK's decision to step down came as a surprise to many. Her decision was sparked by a major political crisis in the federal state of Thuringia, where the state branch of the CDU teamed up with the liberal party (FDP) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to elect FDP's Thomas Kemmerich as Minister-President. National party members and constituents were outraged at the moderate party's willingness cooperate and power-share with AFD, a party infamous for its extreme Islamophobic rhetoric and trivialization of Germany's Holocaust history. The move directly violated the CDU's stated policy that it would never cooperate with AfD.

Though FDP's Kemmerich resigned in the wake of the scandal, CDU's “breach of taboo” in partnering with AfD has spurred protests throughout the country and was seen by many as a major failure on the part of AKK, who did not succeed in establishing party consensus. AKK has struggled through a series of political scandals in recent years, and the Thuringia fiasco was seen as the last straw for her prospects as a national leader. She will continue on in her role as Minister of Defense.

News article -  Deutsche Welle

News article - Euractiv 


German Development Minister visits initiatives in Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan

The German Development Minister, Gerd Müller, embarked on a trip to the Sahel region on February 3, 2020, to visit ongoing German-funded initiatives for regional stabilization in Nigeria, Egypt, and Sudan. The focus of Germany’s bilateral cooperation in the Sahel is on modernization of agriculture and water supply, and creating apprenticeships and jobs in the region.

In Nigeria, Minister Müller plans to visit vocational training centers and a project focused on country-wide family planning and maternal health services. He will also visit the Niger Delta to learn about the consequences of the area's oil spills.

In Sudan, Minister Müller will visit an SOS Children’s Village and a vocational training center by Siemens and BMZ for energy and power plan technicians. He also plans to meet with women’s rights activists to talk about the widespread female genital cutting.

During his last stop in Egypt, Minister Müller will visit one of the world's largest solar parks, as well as the Aswan Dam, whose turbines are being repaired with German support, in addition to a number of other ecological agriculture projects.

Press release – BMZ

Germany Agriculture Global health

G-FINDER report shows Germany is fourth largest donor for global health R&D

The 2019 G-FINDER report found that Germany spent record-high levels on global health research and development (R&D) in 2018. In 2018, Germany was the fourth-largest donor for R&D, after the US, UK, and European Union, spending €73 million (US$82 million) on R&D in 2018. This marks an increase of 40% since 2016.

Most funding came from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which contributed almost 70% of Germany’s R&D funding in 2018 (€50 million or US$56 million), followed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) contributing 26% (€19 million or US$21 million) and the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), which contributed 6% (€4.6 million or US$5.2 million).

G-FINDER, an initiative of Policy Cures Research which reports on R&D, released its 12th annual report in January 2020, synthesizing data from 2018. The report's data is based on a yearly survey of major funders and developers in the global health R&D sector.

2019 Annual Report: Uneven Progress - G-FINDER

Data visualization tool – G-FINDER

Germany Global health R&D

2019 G-FINDER report breaks down global funding for neglected disease R&D

G-FINDER, an initiative of Policy Cures Research which reports on global health research and development (R&D), has released its 12th annual report, synthesizing data from 2018. The report's data is based on a yearly survey of major funders and developers in the global health R&D sector.

Central findings of the report include:

  • Funding for tools combatting neglected diseases topped US$4 billion-- the highest on record;
  • Global funding for neglected disease R&D increased by US$290 million in 2018, or 7.9%-- the largest funding increase on record and the first time ever that funding increased for three years consecutively;
  • Despite record growth in other areas, funding for the WHO neglected tropical diseases has barely increased over the last decade;
  • HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) received over two-thirds of all global funding for neglected disease R&D in 2018 (US$2.8 billion, or 69%); and
  • Despite record investment levels (US$2.6 billion), the public sector's share of total funding fell to its lowest ever, due to strong growth from private sector donors.

2019 Annual Report: Uneven Progress - G-FINDER

Embargo on weaponry exports to Libya violated by attendees of Berlin Conference on Libya, just ten days after recommitment to ban

The UN announced on January 26, 2020, that weapons and arms arrived in Libya last week which were sent by several unspecified parties who had just attended the Libya Conference in Berlin on January 19, 2020. At the Berlin Conference, 16 nations and representatives of international organizations had agreed to abide by the UN Security Council embargo (in place since 2011 when the Libyan civil war broke out) on transporting weaponry and foreign fighters into and out of Libya.

The suspension of weapons exports to Libya is seen as a crucial prerequisite to any lasting ceasefire and, thus, the launch of a peace process with real prospects. The UN has not yet publically named the embargo violators.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)


Anti-Corruption plays leading role in German development strategy

Following the January 23, 2020, publication of Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perception Index, German Development Minister Gerd Müller emphasized the importance of anti-corruption measures in the German international development strategy.

Germany reduces overseas development assistance if recipient countries do not take action on corruption and are not part of a reform partnership. As an example, Müller mentioned Kenya, where ODA was partly frozen due to failure to act swiftly against corruption. Müller used Ghana as a counterexample, a reform partnership country which receives strong support to fight corruption and utilizes the euros efficiently.

Press release – German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)


German civil society calls on Merkel to pledge €700 million to Gavi for upcoming replenishment

Nine German civil society organizations (CSOs) joined forces to call on Chancellor Angela Merkel to announce an early pledge of €700 million (US$778 million) to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, taking place January 21-24, 2020.

Gavi will hold a pledging conference in June 2020 to mobilize resources for its upcoming five-year strategic period (2021-2025). As part of their campaign, the CSOs (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, Aktionsbündnis gegen Aids, Global Citizen, Kindernothilfe, ONE, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision) submitted a mock-up of a newspaper from the future titled ‘Good News 2025’ to the Chancellery and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The paper 'reported' on a world in 2025 where more children have been immunized due to Germany's increased contribution to Gavi.

Gavi has vaccinated 760 million children since it was founded at the World Economic Forum in 2000. Germany has been a major financial contributor supporting Gavi with €600 million (US$667 million) in 2015.

Position paper – Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (in German)

Germany Global health

German supermarkets sign voluntary commitment to fair supply chains

Following a campaign on fair supply chains led by Gerd Müller, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, big German supermarket franchises such as Aldi, Rewe, and Edeka signed a voluntary commitment to fair pricing for mangos, coffee, and bananas. The franchises committed to this initiative at Berlin's 'Green Week', an international exhibition of food, agriculture, and gardening industries from January 17- 26, 2020.

Müller has criticized Germany's cheap food prices, among the lowest in Europe due to fierce competition,  and advocates for a new German law on fair and sustainable supply chains.

News article – Morgenpost

Germany Agriculture

German EU Council Presidency to focus on initiatives for peace and security in Sahel Africa

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that Africa will be a focus area of the German EU Council Presidency this summer. Initiatives for peace and security in the Sahel region will improve residents' overall well-being, she said, and reduce emigration in the long term.

Germany did not join the Anti-Terror Summit in Pau, France, on January 13, 2020, however, where France's President Macron welcomed five presidents from the Sahel region to discuss security and terror.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

EU Germany

Germany to continue development support to Iraq

Germany will continue providing development assistance to Iraq and will not withdraw development staff, following the US-led assassination of Iran's top military general, Ghassem Soleimani, and an Iranian reprisal against an American military base in Iraq.

Germany continues to advocate for de-escalation and diplomatic solutions. Refugee assistance and reconstruction of the country are focus areas for Germany's work in the country now.

Press release – BMZ (in German)