High-level congress on global health highlights Germany’s leadership in the sector

A global health congress in Berlin hosted by the governing Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) parties on May 8, 2019 focused on the topic of strengthening global health and implementing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-ranking German officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ministers of health, research and education, and economic cooperation and development, attended. The panelists and audience included members of the German parliament, representatives of civil society, research, and academia.

In her speech, Chancellor Merkel underlined the shared national and global responsibility in achieving global health for all, pointing to the World Health Organization's 'Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being' that she and her Norwegian and Ghanaian counterparts have supported. The WHO will present the Action Plan during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.

Another key speaker, Director-General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted the German government's commitment to global health and WHO in particular. He advocated for further engagement, particularly with regards to the ongoing Ebola crisis and investment in emergency preparedness.

German development minister Gerd Müller recalled the major health threats that need to be tackled: recurring epidemics, the spread of malaria, diabetes, tuberculosis, and antibiotic resistance. He called for the establishment of basic health structures in developing countries, the empowerment of women, and digitalization of health knowledge for wider dissemination. Meanwhile, German Research Minister Anja Karliczek pushed for more investments in global health research and new partnerships on drug development, in order to leverage synergies between governmental and non-governmental donors. 

Press release - CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group (in German)

Germany Global health

German Chancellor is traveling to Africa

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is traveling to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger this week.  National security and economic development of the three countries will be the focus of the trip. According to the humanitarian development index the countries count as the poorest worldwide. The Sahel region is also growing in importance for Europe beyond migration issues, as it is increasingly becoming a retreat for Islamist terrorists of the IS and Al Qaeda.

Newspaper Article – Handelsblatt (in German)


World military spending is increasing

Total world military spending rose by 2.6 % since 2017, to an estimated US$1.82 trillion in 2018. The five biggest spenders were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together accounted for 60% of global military spending. In particular, the United States and China have increased their spending, with the US increasing military spending for the first time since 2010. Germany spent US$49.5 billion in 2018 and is the eighth largest spender.

The German aid agency Bread for the World criticized the German government for increasing military spending and advocated for increased funds for development cooperation, in order to address the root causes of conflict.

Newspaper Article – sipri

Newspaper Article – Zeit Online (in German)

Newspaper Article – Zeit Online (in German)

Germany Global

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 Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launches Development Investment Fund to attract investments in African markets

On June 4, 2019, German development minister Gerd Müller launched a new Development Investment Fund for investments in Africa. The new fund has three pillars: 'AfricaConnect', "'AfricaGrow', and the 'Business Network Africa'. 

Under the AfricaConnect initiative, German and European companies can apply to receive loans on attractive terms for their projects in Africa, so long as their planned investment is ecologically and socially sustainable. Funded projects must create added value on the ground, for instance through training, the creation of skilled jobs, or through the introduction of new technologies into African markets, with a loan amount between €750 thousand (US$845 thousand) and €4 million (US$4.5 million). 

AfricaGrow, starting later this year, will provide growth capital for small and medium-sized business in Africa in different risk classes. The AfricaGrow fund, anchored in the KfW Development Bank will additionally invest in African venture and equity funds so that these can promote additional companies.

The Development Investment Fund entails a Business Network Africa, which bundles advisory and support services for foreign trade promotion and development cooperation in order to facilitate the market entry of German small and medium-sized enterprises and the expansion of business in African growth markets. 

Press release - BMZ (in German) 
Press release - DEG