Agency for Business and Economic Development

Project description

Title: Agency for Business & Economic Development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Worldwide
Overall term: 2015 to 2020

©AWE Eröffnung der AWE


In developing countries and emerging economies, investments by the private sector are playing an increasingly important role as a driver of development, while the significance of public-sector development cooperation is decreasing. Companies can provide important impetus for growth and development through their economic activity. These companies’ capital, the opportunities for income generated by employment, and their innovative capacity, specialised knowledge, creativity and values awareness all have positive impacts on the development of these countries. As a result, the private sector is increasingly being regarded as an actor in development cooperation and is being involved accordingly.
The Agency for Business and Economic Development (AWE) is a central point of contact that advises and supports German and European companies looking to get involved in projects in developing countries and emerging economies. It provides information on the wide range of support and financing instruments available within the framework of development cooperation. 

AWE is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is run by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.


AWE’s objective is to structurally improve the prerequisites for interaction between development cooperation actors and the private sectors in Germany and Europe. 

© GIZ  Tim-Patrick Meyer, Chile


A win-win situation is to be established: for German companies and their value creation on the one hand, and for developing countries and emerging economies and sustainable growth in these countries on the other hand. Local people should also benefit.

The programme operates in three core areas:

  • Advice to companies
    AWE’s advisors support companies in development cooperation in their search for suitable financing and support instruments and for cooperation partners, and also in all sustainability matters, taking into account the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP Helpdesk). In addition, the Agency provides advice free of charge with regard to project planning.
  • Advice to BMZ
    AWE feeds the experience and needs of the private sector back to BMZ so that advice, support and financing instruments can be continuously adapted and improved.
  • Public relations and knowledge management
    The Agency organises its own events and is present at trade fairs, with the aim of raising its profile and networking with German and European companies. The AWE website, Twitter feed and newsletter keep companies up to date on current issues in development cooperation. 
©AWE Workshop


There has been great interest from the private sector in the advisory services offered by AWE since it began operating in February 2016. Over 2,000 enquiries had been received by AWE by late 2017. Almost 62 percent of these requests related to Africa. The 85 events held in 2017 gave AWE plenty of opportunity to exchange information with representatives of the private sector and to work closely with them in the area of development cooperation.


Related Themes

Further Information