Annual press conference: ‘Creating stability means creating prospects’

GIZ presents its Company Report in Berlin today. Crisis prevention and stabilisation are becoming ever more important in the company’s work.

Conflict regions and fragile states – the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is increasingly being called upon to provide assistance in unstable countries. These nations often lack rule-of-law structures and security, which has far-reaching implications for people’s living conditions. Over half of the countries in which GIZ operates on behalf of the German Government and other clients and commissioning parties are already classified as fragile states. ‘Crisis prevention and stabilisation are becoming an ever greater part of our work,’ said Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ’s Management Board, at the annual press conference. ‘Creating stability means creating prospects. People need access to properly functioning state services, to food and health care, to education and employment, to a trustworthy legal system, and to political participation. This is the only way to achieve lasting stability and peace. International cooperation is vital in this context.’

This is also reflected in GIZ’s results. 2016 saw the company achieve a business volume of EUR 2.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent. Commissions are received from the German Government and the European Union, as well as foreign governments and the United Nations. GIZ’s main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Stability is needed most urgently in areas undergoing massive structural change in a short space of time. Consequently, the provision of support for refugees and their host communities, often on behalf of BMZ, continued to be one of GIZ’s key tasks in the last fiscal year. ‘There are 700 million people living in extreme poverty and 65 million displaced persons who need prospects of a real future in their home countries – stability enables these prospects to be created,’ says Chairman of the Supervisory Board, BMZ State Secretary Dr Friedrich Kitschelt. ‘I would like our colleagues at GIZ, now almost 20,000 in number, who work day in, day out in Germany and abroad to implement sustainable development projects to know that the German Government greatly values their work. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is delighted to have a partner as reliable and experienced as GIZ.’

According to the United Nations, 84 per cent of all refugees have found shelter in developing countries, almost one third of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In the Middle East, it is the countries bordering Syria that are bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis. Lebanon, for example, which has a population of just under six million people, has taken in over one million refugees, almost all of them from Syria. ‘This makes it all the more important for us to assist these countries in dealing with this additional burden and so preventing new conflicts,’ said Gönner.

GIZ works on behalf of the entire German Government. Last year, the company saw a EUR 220 million increase in the volume of work it carried out for BMZ, taking the total to EUR 1.9 billion. This included EUR 286 million of supplementary funding provided by third-party co-financiers such as the European Commission, foreign governments and foundations, to expand the initiatives. GIZ saw the volume of commissions from other German ministries, including the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, rise to EUR 315 million in 2016, a year-on-year increase of EUR 65 million. Additionally, GIZ International Services received EUR 149 million or so of additional funding in commissions and loans from private enterprises, foundations, multilateral organisations and foreign governments last year. With this finance, GIZ is able to support the German Government’s international cooperation activities without drawing on German taxpayers’ money.

The growing demand for the company’s services is also reflected in its headcount. At the end of 2016, GIZ employed a total workforce of 18,260, a year-on-year increase of 941. Around 70 per cent of employees, that is, 12,605 individuals in total, were from partner countries. Additionally, the company deployed 643 development workers around the world last year.

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