Transition to a new era reshapes development cooperation

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel: ‘Development is pivotal for peace. We are repositioning our strategy and services.’

Berlin, 5 July 2023. Multiple, persisting crises are posing challenges for the global community and for international cooperation. To be able to continue to act swiftly, appropriately and effectively in future, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is adapting its services. Focusing even more on digital capability and strategic planning, it is realigning its services, according to GIZ’s Chair of the Management Board Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel in a statement at the company’s annual press conference today.

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel: ‘We have expanded and refined our instruments significantly in the last few years to enable us to deploy quickly in fragile countries of assignment.’ GIZ is positioning itself to be even more consistently flexible, digital and collaborative. In this way, it is responding to changing conditions and strengthening development cooperation. The multiple crises and the dawning of a new era in world politics mean change: the focus is now on sustainably alleviating existential gaps in development and the repercussions of these crises in the global South, and making states more resilient.

To this end, GIZ is active at multiple levels. It works with multilateral partners, with the digital economy, and with foundations. By pooling knowledge and skills – in-house and with partners – it is possible to achieve significantly more. Schäfer-Gümbel mentions digitalisation as an example: ‘We will continue to consistently draw on digital and data-based approaches in our work.’ On the one hand, this involves the company’s own instruments for implementation. On the other hand, it also concerns digitalisation as a driver for development and a genuine opportunity to achieve the global sustainability goals. GIZ is consciously prioritising cross-project and cross-disciplinary approaches. The fields of energy, the environment and governance, for example, can work even more closely together in many countries on combating climate change. As a result, clients and partners receive holistic and, in turn, even more effective products from a single source. Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel: ‘Development is pivotal for peace. More and more, the global future issues of our time require us to mount an interdisciplinary response that addresses their interrelated nature. We are realigning accordingly.’

A path that GIZ’s Chair of the Supervisory Board and BMZ State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth welcomes: ‘Global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the repercussions of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and climate change are unravelling much of the development progress made and threatening to overwhelm societies in our partner countries. And yet inclusive, resilient and sustainable societies are central to sustainable socio-economic development. A particular focus of cooperation is therefore on supporting the establishment and expansion of social security systems in our partner countries. Societies with stable social security systems are better equipped to deal with the multiple crises of our time.’  

GIZ’s work is guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, which are scheduled to undergo a mid-term review in September. There is still a long way to go to achieve social justice, food security, climate adaptation and many more of the 17 goals. A huge effort will be needed to achieve socially just, sustainable change worldwide. In view of the multiple crises, Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel emphasises: ‘We all need to pull together to navigate this transformation successfully. The industrialised countries have a clear share of responsibility to promote development worldwide that creates jobs adapted to climate considerations and strengthens social security.’

2022 in figures: more than 25,000 staff from 155 nations

At around EUR 4 billion in 2022, GIZ’s business volume increased by 8 per cent year on year, continuing the steady growth trend from previous years.

GIZ’s commissioning parties are the German Government, the European Union (EU), governments of other countries worldwide, international institutions, foundations and companies. The German Development Ministry (BMZ) remained GIZ’s main commissioning party. Income from BMZ business increased in 2022 to EUR 3.4 billion (2021: EUR 3.15 billion). This includes EUR 529 million in cofinancing arrangements – funds supplied by third parties to scale up existing projects.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of GIZ’s income in the public-benefit business area last year were won in competition with other public and public-benefit institutions. These include, for example, funding for crisis management, development partnerships with the private sector and BMZ’s special initiatives.

The taxable International Services (InS) business area, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, likewise recorded significant growth. InS closed the year with a total operating performance of EUR 200 million, up 48 per cent (2021: EUR 135 million). Through InS, international institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, governments worldwide as well as companies commission GIZ directly.

Last year, the European Union was once again GIZ’s second-largest commissioning party, placing commissions worth around EUR 479 million – including funding from cofinancing arrangements in the public-benefit sector as well as direct commissions via InS.

In 2022, the federal enterprise had a workforce of 25,422 people from 155 nations (2021: 24,977). Almost 70 per cent of that number (17,120) are national staff in around120 countries in which GIZ operates worldwide.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. It is also engaged in education activities around the globe. GIZ assists people and societies in shaping their future and improving their living conditions.

You can find the Integrated Company Report 2022, which contains these figures and information and more, at https://berichterstattung.giz.de.

The press kit for the annual press conference 2023 is available here.