Questions and answers about GIZ

What is GIZ?

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is Germany's leading provider of international cooperation services. As a federal enterprise, we support the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education work around the globe.

GIZ is fully owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, represented as the shareholder by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF).

What does GIZ do?

GIZ has more than 20,700 staff around the globe and operates in about 120 countries worldwide, i.e. almost everywhere. We provide consulting services to industrialised countries preparing for accession to the EU, and to German federal states on the transition to new forms of energy. We assist emerging economies in addressing the impacts of climate change effectively. We work towards alleviating famine in developing countries. We operate in many fragile states, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, promoting economic development. In the Middle East, we support young people by joining forces with the German and local private sector to create jobs. Germany's highly acclaimed vocational training system serves as a model for education projects, for example in Viet Nam. We arrange training courses for German experts and managers in Russia or China and place scholarship students in the USA, Japan and Israel. Foreign managers come to learn in German companies and in our regional training centres. 

To put it briefly, our experts support sustainable change – in countries as varied as Brazil, Kenya and Germany.

What values guide GIZ's work?

GIZ's activities are geared towards sustainability, which we see as a combination of social responsibility, ecological balance, political participation and economic capability. Only by combining these factors will current and future generations be able to lead secure and dignified lives. 

As a federal enterprise, we are guided by the values enshrined in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. We also uphold the principles of the Global Compact. We are thus committed to the fundamental values of protecting human rights, treating employees and their advocacy organisations in a socially responsible way, protecting the environment and the climate, and preventing corruption.

How does GIZ work?

GIZ is not a charity organisation. All GIZ projects are based on a specific commission – from the German Government, from our main commissioning party the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), from other federal ministries or from other national and international clients.

The commissioning parties finance previously agreed measures ranging from the assignment of short-term experts to a partner country to programmes lasting a number of years and involving numerous national and international employees. GIZ offers services in a broad range of areas: energy, water, health, agriculture and finance are just some of the topics on which we have been offering our know-how for many years.

Who does GIZ cooperate with?

In order to drive change across the globe, GIZ offers its expertise at all levels: We advise governments on legislation, support associations in their work, involve the German and local private sector and teach the local population what it needs to know to continue activities on their own responsibility.

To do so, we cooperate with local partners in the partner countries – often with the relevant national ministries, but also with local authorities or local organisations. In Germany, GIZ maintains partnerships and close working contacts with public institutions, foundations, associations and KfW.   

Companies are another key partner for GIZ: in collaboration with GIZ, they can design their activities such that entrepreneurial success also creates better living conditions for the local population. One example of this is GIZ’s cooperation with international private companies to help small-scale farmers earn higher incomes from growing cashew nuts, cocoa and cotton in Africa. Local non-governmental organisations are also involved in these initiatives.

Who does GIZ receive commissions from?

Most of our work is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In 2018, BMZ commissions accounted for around 83 per cent of our business volume. Another 14 per cent came from commissions from other German public sector clients, such as the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Foreign Office. GIZ also operates at the level of the German states and offers training courses on topics such as energy efficiency and renewable energies on behalf of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, for example. 

GIZ also works for international clients such as the European Union and various UN organisations. National governments from all over the world place commissions directly with us. From 2005 until 2012 GIZ managed a programme on behalf of the Ethiopian Government through which 13 state universities had been set up for more than 121,000 students. Private companies and foundations commission services from GIZ too.

How high is GIZ's volume of business?

In 2018, GIZ's volume of business totalled around 3 billion euros. Of this figure, 2.8 billion euros came from German federal ministries and other German public sector clients. Business worth 109.3 million euros was commissioned and financed by international clients from industrialised, emerging and developing countries.

Is GIZ a public-benefit organisation?

GIZ is a joint stock company with the legal form of a limited liability company; it is recognised as a public-benefit organisation on the basis of its corporate purpose. We do not aim to earn the greatest possible financial profit, but instead focus on promoting the common good within the scope of our corporate purpose.

We generate most of our turnover (97 per cent in 2018) from the German Government and other German public sector clients. These commissions are exempt from corporate and commercial tax.

GIZ commissions from clients such as the European Commission, UN organisations and national governments are taxed in Germany in line with the rules on calculating profit for the purposes of income tax. However, even with these commissions, generating profit is not our main goal. GIZ works to cover its costs and applies a small risk charge for these commissions too to cover entrepreneurial risks.  

Surplus profits are channelled back into international cooperation projects within the scope of GIZ's corporate purpose.

Who manages GIZ?

GIZ is headed by a two-strong Management Board. The Chair of the Management Board is Tanja Gönner. The second managing director is Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel.

How long has GIZ been operating?

GIZ has been operating since 1 January 2011. It brought together three organisations: the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, the German Development Service (DED) gGmbH and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany.

Where are GIZ's registered offices in Germany?

GIZ has two registered offices in Germany: one in Bonn and one in Eschborn near Frankfurt am Main. 

It also has a representation in Berlin. Alongside GIZs locations at Eschborn, Bonn and Berlin, it has four other locations across Germany. It also has a representation at Brussels.

How many employees does GIZ have?

As at 31 December 2018, GIZ had a total of 20,726 staff. Of these, 4,068 were working in Germany and 2,426 were employees seconded abroad. In addition, 14,196 staff were working as national personnel in the partner countries. Eighty per cent of GIZ's total workforce were working abroad.

There were also 577 development advisors working for GIZ. In addition, the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), a joint operation of GIZ and the German Federal Employment Agency, places experts with local employers: At the end of 2018, 317 integrated experts had employment contracts with organisations and companies in the field. A total of 518 returning experts were receiving financial support and advice from CIM.