On February 12, 2020, German Development Minister Gerd Müller officially informed the Committee on Development in the Bundestag (AWZ) about the Ministry of Development Cooperation's (BMZ’s) plans to cease bilateral cooperation within global health and education.
This decision is part of an internal strategic review within the Ministry to narrow down its priority themes and to align Germany’s funding with other western partners and multilateral organizations. As a result, the BMZ plans to reduce the number of countries Germany will engage with bilaterally from 50 to 42 and to channel its global health and education funding only multilaterally, opening these sectors to capital investments and contributions from the private sector.
While a stronger prioritization within the German development cooperation was welcomed by experts, opposition members within the Development Committee (from the Left and the Greens) expressed worry that this decision would shift Germany’s bilateral focus to more strategically aligned countries, disadvantaging the lowest-income countries. The Left's Helin Evrim Sommer called this move a “radical disruption” to Germany’s current approach to development cooperation which until now has placed a strong emphasis on the needs of the people in partner countries. Uwe Kekeritz of the Greens specifically criticized the BMZ's plans to expand its strategic focus on migration control and border security to Africa.