Local digital innovations drive sustainable development

Project description

Title: Innovation Factory
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Global (ICR projects)
Lead executing agency: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2018 to 2022

Participants work on an idea together at the AU’s humanitarian innovation workshop in Nairobi in November 2019.  Photo: GIZ


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents the international community’s belief that collective action is the only way to tackle global challenges. Actors from the public sector, the academic community, business and civil society must work together systematically on innovative digital solutions and form networks, because digital innovations can drive sustainable development.

They open up access to knowledge, education and labour markets, improve and simplify communication and facilitate new business ideas. Moreover, digital innovations can help improve living conditions, especially those of marginalised social groups, and can support climate change mitigation.

A participant at the AU’s humanitarian innovation workshop during a workshop session.  Photo: GIZ


Local digital innovations contribute to sustainable development in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Indonesia and Mexico.


The project works on three levels to harness digital innovations for sustainable development.

In a first step, digital solutions for social challenges are identified and established in workshops and other events such as boot camps and ideas competitions. Social actors are also involved in this process.

The project then supports the development and scaling of the most promising digital ideas by providing long-term funding programmes or individual support.

For all activities, methodological approaches are used that ensure that development reflects the actual needs of the target users. This is designed to increase the impact and benefit of innovations.

In addition, the project contributes to developing an open source platform as part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. The purpose of the platform is to prepare markets for transferring environmentally friendly biogas solutions from Europe to developing countries and emerging economies.

Date: October 2021

Additional information