Germany

Germany’s official development assistance (ODA) volume is the second-largest among DAC members. Germany engages in all regions and sectors, with the largest allocations to Asia and Africa and the main sectoral engagements on energy, government and civil society. Under the overall lead of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the agencies GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) are responsible for implementing bilateral co-operation, the bulk of Germany’s ODA. Germany also mobilises finance for development beyond ODA.

The 2018 OECD-DAC mid-term review recognised Germany as a leader in prioritising climate change in its development co-operation, notably through support for climate risk insurance and clean energy. It praised its active engagement with large emerging economies, particularly on global public goods. Germany also prioritises responsible business conduct and sustainable value chains. While acknowledging progress, the mid-term review suggested that Germany increase its focus on least developed countries (LDCs) and improve government co-ordination, through, for example, more comprehensive, whole-of-government co-operation strategies. Germany’s next peer review, scheduled for 2021, will follow up on these issues. Learn more about Germany’s 2018 OECD-DAC mid-term review.

Germany’s development policy set out in its 2015 Charter for the Future aims to enable dignity for all people while respecting planetary boundaries. A 2018 strategy paper focuses on five megatrends: 1) demographic growth; 2) resource scarcity; 3) climate change; 4) digitalisation and interdependence; and 5) displacement and migration. Germany has priority partner countries in all regions. Under its G20 presidency in 2017, Germany launched the “Marshall Plan with Africa” to promote job creation and good governance in African partner countries. Germany prioritises government-to-government co-operation.

Germany provided less ODA in 2019 than in the previous year. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 23.8 billion (preliminary data), representing 0.60% of Germany’s gross national income (GNI) in 2019.1 The fall of 1.4% in real terms from 2018 was due mostly to reduced in-donor refugee costs compared to 2018. Among DAC member countries, Germany ranked sixth in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio and second in relation to its ODA volume in 2019. Germany is committed individually, and collectively at the European level, to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, net ODA was USD 23.7 billion in 2019. Within Germany’s gross ODA portfolio in 2019 (USD 26.5 billion), 84.7% was provided in the form of grants and 15.3% in the form of non-grants.2

Germany provides the bulk of its ODA bilaterally (78%), relying on its main implementing agencies, GIZ and KfW. Germany has one of the highest shares of ODA provided to middle-income countries. While still substantial, in-donor costs for refugees have significantly decreased since 2016. See the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

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In 2018, Germany provided most of its ODA bilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 78% of total ODA, of which 17% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Germany allocated 22% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations, including European Union (EU) institutions.

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In 2018, Germany increased its total support (core and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. It provided USD 10 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 9% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 6.2 billion was core multilateral ODA and the rest was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project aid earmarked for a specific project or purpose (tight earmarking) accounted for 49% of Germany’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 51% was softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2018, Germany’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the EU institutions, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group. These contributions together accounted for 82% of Germany’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 32%, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 3.2 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Germany’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the World Food Programme (USD 843 million), the United Nations Development Programme (USD 473 million) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 465 million).

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Note: See the list of UN acronyms.

See the section on “Geographic and thematic focus of ODA” for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2018, Germany’s bilateral spending decreased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 22.4 billion as gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented a decrease of 7.2% in real terms from 2017.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 44% of Germany’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 3.9 billion in 2018, a decrease of 40.1% in real terms over 2017, and represented 15% of Germany’s total net ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, Germany channelled its bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation; PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 1.6 billion of gross bilateral ODA. Four per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 3% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by Germany (earmarked funding). Between 2017 and 2018, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs remained stable at 7% of bilateral ODA. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2018, Germany’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Asia and Africa. USD 7.4 billion was allocated to Asia and USD 4.9 billion to Africa, accounting respectively for 33% and 22% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 1.8 billion was allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Asia (especially the Middle East) was the main regional recipient of Germany’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, as part of the response to displacement from the Syrian Arab Republic. Thirty-one per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 29% of gross bilateral ODA went to Germany’s top 10 recipients, mostly middle-income countries, in Asia and the Middle East. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 42%, mainly due to expenditure for in-donor refugees.

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In 2018, the LDCs received 12.1% of Germany’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 2.7 billion). This is far below the DAC country average of 23.8%. Germany allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (28%) to lower middle-income countries in 2018, noting that 42% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 5.4 billion of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (24.1% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 43.9% of this amount. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

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Note: The chart represents only gross bilateral ODA that is allocated by country.

In 2018, most of Germany’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 33% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 8.4 billion), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 3.0 billion), education (USD 2.4 billion), and water supply and sanitation (USD 1.7 billion). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 4.9 billion, with a focus on energy (USD 3.5 billion). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 2.7 billion (11% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on humanitarian aid and social infrastructure and services in 2018.

In 2018, Germany committed USD 43.4 million of ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.2% of bilateral allocable aid. Germany also committed USD 6.1 billion (32.2% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2018, making Germany one of the top 5 providers of aid for trade globally.

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In 2018, Germany committed 40% of its bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 39% in 2017),3 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 7.5 billion of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 2%, compared with the DAC country average of 4%. A significantly higher share of interventions in most social sectors target gender equality than those on water and energy. Germany screens virtually all activities against the gender marker (99.4% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2018, Germany committed 49% of its bilateral allocable aid (USD 9.3 billion) in support of the environment as either a principal or significant objective, up from 47% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). Fourteen per cent focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 11%. Forty-two per cent (USD 8.0 billion) focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, up from 38% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 26%). Germany has a greater focus on mitigation (31% in 2018) than on adaptation (21%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Data analysis for the OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Germany committed USD 226 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2018, amounting to 1.3% of bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about ODA focused on the ocean economy.

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In 2018, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the development finance institution German Investment Corporation (DEG) together mobilised USD 448.4 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies or project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), credit lines and shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), syndicated loans and simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

Note: The DEG only shared data on the amounts mobilised from the private sector through climate-related activities. Its total mobilisation effect is thus only partially represented here.

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Note: CIV: collective investment vehicle; SPV: special purpose vehicle.

Of the country-allocable finance mobilised from the private sector in 2017-18, 97% targeted middle-income countries and 3% the LDCs.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

Germany’s private finance mobilised in 2017-18 mainly related to activities in the energy (68%); banking and financial services (12%); and industry, mining and construction (9%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-ordinates development co-operation policy and oversees 49% of Germany’s ODA. A number of other federal ministries manage ODA resources, in particular the Federal Foreign Office (AA) overseeing humanitarian assistance. Germany has two main implementing agencies, GIZ for technical co-operation and KfW for financial co-operation, comprising KfW Development Bank, the DEG (development finance institution) and KfW IPEX Bank (project and export financing).

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The BMZ’s Evaluation and Research Division – though it has largely ceased commissioning evaluations – retains the function to guide the overall evaluation system, setting core standards and assigning roles and responsibilities to the main evaluation actors (the German Institute for Development Evaluation [DEval], GIZ and KfW Development Bank) as far as its area of competence is concerned.

DEval was created in 2012 and is primarily tasked to perform strategically relevant and mostly complex evaluations for all German development activities. Independent scientific evidence in conducting evaluations is enshrined in the DEval charter. DEval is an independent entity institutionally separated from the BMZ. Its Advisory Council includes members from parliament, academia and civil society, thus increasing transparency.

GIZ’s Evaluation Unit performs corporate and technical co-operation project evaluations and reports directly to the Management Board; as a corporate unit, it is separate from and independent of GIZ’s operational business. KfW Development Bank’s Evaluation Department mostly focuses on standard ex post evaluations of individual projects and programmes. The Director of the Evaluation Department reports to the responsible member of the Board of Directors of the KfW Group. Learn more about evaluation in Germany.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of German development co-operation.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

2015 OECD-DAC peer review of Germany: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-review-germany.htm

2018 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Germany: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/Germany-2018-Mid-term-review.pdf

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH: https://www.giz.de/en/html/index.html.

Federal Foreign Office (AA): https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en

Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): www.bmz.de/en/index.html

KfW International Financing: https://www.kfw.de/International-financing

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1960.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the provider’s effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. All 2019 statistics in this paragraph are expressed in current prices and, therefore, they may differ from values in the ODA volume chart, which uses constant prices. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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https://doi.org/10.1787/2dcf1367-en

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