Germany

Germany is a leader in sustainable development and climate change. It continues to be the second-largest development co-operation provider of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Total official development assistance (ODA) on a grant-equivalent basis increased in 2020, representing 0.73% of Germany’s gross national income (GNI). Germany ranks fourth1 among DAC countries in terms of ODA to GNI ratio. In 2020, Germany disbursed USD 3.2 billion in support of the COVID-19 response in partner countries.2 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.

The 2021 OECD-DAC peer review is underway and following up on the findings from the 2018 mid-term review that recognises Germany’s focus on responsible business conduct and sustainable value chains. While acknowledging progress, the mid-term review suggested that Germany improve government co-ordination, through, for example, more comprehensive, whole-of-government co-operation strategies. Learn more about Germany’s 2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review and Germany’s 2021 OECD-DAC peer review.

Please note that 2020 preliminary and 2019 data in the text are provided in current prices whereas the charts reflect all data in constant 2018 USD, in order for the data to be comparable over time. Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Development Policy 2030 issued in 2018 is centred on the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The BMZ 2030 strategy operationalises Development Policy 2030, allowing for a long-term focus on global public goods and German expertise, as well as shorter term political initiatives. Germany recently refocused its development co-operation towards Africa, reduced the number of partner countries from 85 to 60, and concentrated thematic priorities in 5 core areas.

Germany provided USD 28.4 billion (preliminary data),3 representing 0.73% of gross national income (GNI) in 2020. This was an increase of 13.7% in real terms in volume, due primarily to the mobilisation of additional ODA resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase in per cent of GNI from 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 28.9 billion in 2020, while gross ODA was USD 31.7 billion. Within Germany’s gross ODA portfolio in 2019, 83.1% was provided in the form of grants and 16.9% in the form of non-grants.4 Technical co-operation made up 22.7% of gross ODA in 2019.

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. Germany’s focus on the environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation is considerably higher than the DAC average. While still substantial, in-donor costs for refugees have significantly decreased since 2016. 

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In 2019, Germany provided more of its ODA bilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 79.1% of total ODA, of which 17.9% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Germany allocated 20.9% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

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In 2019, Germany provided USD 9.4 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, a fall of -3.9% in real terms from 2018. Of this, USD 5.6 billion was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked to a specific theme and/or country accounted for 49% of Germany’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 51% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2019, Germany’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the European Union institutions, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group. These contributions together accounted for more than 84.0% of Germany’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 36.2%, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 3.4 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Germany’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were the World Food Programme (USD 892.5 million), the United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 500.7 million) and the United Nations Development Programme (USD 405.9 million).

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

In 2019, Germany’s bilateral spending decreased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 21.3 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of -1.8% in real terms from 2018.

In 2019, country programmable aid was 41.8% of Germany’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48.0%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 3 billion in 2019, a decrease of -18.9% in real terms over 2018, and represented 14.3% of Germany’s total gross bilateral ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2019, Germany channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding.

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 1.7 billion of gross bilateral ODA. Four per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 3.8% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects which they initiated and for which they had applied for funding. Between 2018 and 2019, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs increased slightly as a share of bilateral ODA, from 7.2% to 7.8%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2019, Germany’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 5.3 billion was allocated to Africa and USD 3.7 billion to Asia, accounting respectively for 24.7% and 17.6% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 2.8 billion, or 13.1% was allocated to the Middle East. This is in line with Germany’s increased focus on Africa. Asia was the main regional recipient of Germany’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Thirty-two per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2019, mainly due to in-donor refugee costs.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2019, 26.2% of gross bilateral ODA went to Germany’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are primarily middle-income countries in Asia (due to high student imputed costs), and the Middle East and North Africa. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 44.0%, mainly due to expenditure for in-donor refugees.

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In 2019, least developed countries received 12.8% of Germany’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 2.7 billion). This is well below the DAC country average of 23.8%. Germany allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (24.5%) to lower middle-income countries in 2019, noting that 44.0% 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 4.8 billion in 2019, representing 22.6% of Germany’s gross bilateral ODA. Thirty-two per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, decreasing from 38.5% in 2018, while 14.5% was allocated to peace, an increase from 13.9% in 2018. Six per cent (USD 290.9 million) went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, the same as in 2018.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

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Note: HDP: humanitarian-development-peace. The chart represents only gross bilateral official development assistance that is allocated by country.

In 2019, social infrastructure and services was the largest focus of bilateral ODA for Germany. Investments in this area accounted for 35.8% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 9.1 billion), exhibiting a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 3.2 billion), education (USD 2.9 billion), and water and sanitation (USD 1.4 billion). ODA for other macro sectors totalled USD 7.5 billion and support to economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 4.8 billion, with a focus on energy (USD 2.2 billion). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 2.1 billion (8.1% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on humanitarian aid, social sectors and governance in 2019.

In 2019, Germany committed USD 64.5 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.3% of bilateral allocable aid. Germany also committed USD 6.8 billion (35.0% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2019. Germany is among the top 10 providers of aid for trade globally.

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In 2019, Germany committed 44.8% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment overall, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 40.6% in 2018),5 compared with the 2019 DAC country average of 41.6%. This is equal to USD 8.6 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 1.9%, compared with the 2019 DAC country average of 5.5%. A significantly higher share of interventions on social infrastructure and services addresses gender equality than those in production sectors or on economic infrastructure. Germany screens virtually all activities against the gender marker (99.3% in 2019). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2019, Germany committed 49.4% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 9.6 billion) in support of the environment and the Rio Convention, the same as its share in 2018 (the DAC country average was 35.3%). Eighteen per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 9.7%. Forty two per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 8.2 billion) focused on climate change overall, the same as in 2018 (the DAC country average was 27.1%). Germany focused slightly more on mitigation (27.3%) than on adaptation (24.6%) in 2019. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Estimates produced as part of the OECD Sustainable Ocean for All initiative show that in 2019, Germany committed USD 220.6 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, up from USD 179.6 million in 2018 (an increase of 23% in real terms). The 2019 value is equivalent to 1.1% of Germany’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about ODA for a sustainable ocean economy on the new OECD data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

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In 2019, KfW, the development finance institution German Investment Corporation (DEG)6 and the BMZ together mobilised USD 956.9 million from the private sector through credit lines (55%), shares in collective investment vehicles (20%), direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles (18%), syndicated loans (6%), and simple co-financing arrangements (1%).

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

Of this, 76% targeted middle-income countries and 1% the LDCs and other LICs in 2019, noting that 23% was unallocated by income. Germany’s private finance mobilised for fragile contexts amounted to 11% of its annual mobilisation total in 2019.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCT: more advanced developing country and territory.

Private finance mobilised by Germany in 2018-19 mainly related to activities in the energy (57%), water supply and sanitation (20%), and banking and business services (12%) sectors. Moreover, Germany’s private mobilisation for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation over 2018-19 accounted for 93.0% of its total private finance mobilised over the two-year period.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

The BMZ co-ordinates development co-operation policy and oversees 51% of Germany’s ODA. A number of other federal ministries manage ODA resources, in particular the Federal Foreign Office overseeing humanitarian assistance, as well as crisis prevention, stabilisation and peace-building. 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 a number of federal states and municipalities that provide development co-operation.

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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 evaluations on development policies, objectives and instruments 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 Germany’s evaluation systems at the BMZ (in German), DEval, GIZ, KfW Development Bank, and the BMZ’s responses to DEval evaluations.

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.

2021 OECD-DAC peer review of Germany: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-reviews-of-dac-members.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 Co-operation and Development (BMZ): www.bmz.de/en/index.html

KfW Development Bank: https://www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/International-financing/KfW-Entwicklungsbank

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.

Notes

← 1. Tied with Denmark.

← 2. Data on COVID-19 related activities are preliminary and partial, as many donors are still in the process of collecting detailed information on COVID-19 related activities, especially sector-related ones. These data may differ from individual announcements made by countries due to the timing of payments and some may be reported in 2021 data. Detailed final 2020 data will be published in December 2021.

← 3. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 4. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 5. 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.

← 6. The amounts mobilised by the DEG only relate to its climate-related investments.

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