Questions and answers about GIZ

Additional information

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). 

GIZ has around 25,600 staff around the globe and operates in about 120 countries worldwide, i.e. almost everywhere. As a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work, the company is dedicated to shaping a future worth living around the world. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment promotion, energy and the environment, and peace and security. The diverse expertise of GIZ is in demand around the globe – from the German Government, European Union institutions, the United Nations, the private sector and governments of other countries. It works with businesses, civil society actors and research institutions, fostering successful interaction between development policy and other policy fields and areas of activity. GIZ’s main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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

Our actions are guided by the principles of sustainability. We believe that only by combining social responsibility, ecological balance, political participation and economic capability will current and future generations be able to lead secure and dignified lives. 

As a federal enterprise, GIZ is guided by the values enshrined in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. In particular, the company

  • advocates respect for human rights, equal opportunities and integrity;
  • supports the rule of law and civic participation, is committed to ensuring fair negotiation processes, both within and outside the company, and promotes a market-oriented, ecological and social economic order and observes the principles of corporate responsibility in its work.

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: economic development and employment promotion, energy and the environment, and peace and security are just some of the topics on which we have been offering our know-how for many years.

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.

Most of our work is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In 2023, BMZ commissions accounted for around 3.3 billion euros of our business volume. Another 420 million euros 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 energy 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. Since 2011, for instance, GIZ has been supporting local authorities on behalf of the Government of Costa Rica in upgrading the road infrastructure. 612 km of roads have been repaired or built, 1500 km more will follow. Private companies and foundations commission services from GIZ too.

In 2023, GIZ's business volume totalled around 4 billion euros. Of this figure, 3.7 billion euros came from German federal ministries and other German public sector clients. Business worth 247 million euros was commissioned and financed by international clients from industrialised, emerging-market and developing countries.

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 (around 3.7 billion euros in 2023) 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.

GIZ is headed by a three-strong management board. The Chair of the Management Board is Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel. The other managing directors are Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven and Anna Sophie Herken.

GIZ has been operating since 1 January 2011 and brought together three organisations: the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, the German Development Service (DED) gGmbH and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, 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 GIZ’s locations in Eschborn, Bonn and Berlin, it has five other offices across Germany. It has a representation in Brussels as well.

As at 31 December 2023, GIZ had a total of 25,634 staff. Of these, 5,910 were working in Germany and 2,626 were employees seconded abroad. In addition, 17,098 staff were working as national personnel in the partner countries. Almost seventy-seven per cent of GIZ's total workforce were working abroad.

GIZ’s workforce also included 285 development workers. Moreover, GIZ places experts with employers in cooperation countries: at the end of 2023, 113 integrated experts were working for a local employer. In addition, 92 returning experts received support in finding a suitable job in their country of origin.