Sector project on employment promotion in development cooperation

Project description

Title: Employment promotion in development cooperation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 1999 to 2022

Handbook: Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All


In the partner countries of German development cooperation, many people are currently unemployed, underemployed or working in informal employment relationships. In Africa especially, many countries are also experiencing conflicts, insecurity, violence and high population growth. According to population forecasts, Africa will need 20 million additional jobs each year if it is to be able to provide employment and offer future prospects to the young people entering the job market.

Productive employment and good working conditions are critical for economic development, social cohesion and reduced poverty – which is why they constitute the focal points of the German Government’s Africa policy initiatives. The Marshall Plan with Africa, the Compact with Africa and the BMZ Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation all aim to promote productive employment and good working conditions. As such, they are contributing directly to the 2030 Agenda, and specifically to its Sustainable Development Goal 8, which sets out to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Over and above these initiatives, German development cooperation has been advising its partner countries on the topic of employment promotion for many years already. Harnessing an integrated approach towards employment promotion, the project supports a closely coordinated procedure in the following four areas:

  1. Designing economic policies geared to achieving employment goals
  2. Creating more and improved opportunities for work through private sector development
  3. Promoting opportunities for general, vocational and tertiary level education as well as life-long learning that are aligned with labour market demands
  4. Preparing people for the job market, providing careers guidance and helping them find work


German and international development cooperation make use of new and enhanced employment promotion strategies and approaches to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The project helps the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to develop its positions and strategies on the topic of employment promotion and to articulate these in national and international debates.

In addition, the project draws up and refines conceptual approaches for employment promotion and formulates strategies that focus on a particular region. To this end, the project leverages expertise and research cooperation and evaluates the experience of German and international development cooperation.

The project shares these lessons learned with German development cooperation projects, other donors and international organisations, and also the general public via published studies, technical discussions and training courses, or by means of direct project consultancy.

Finally, the project advises on the rollout of the BMZ Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation and provides proof of its impact on employment.

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  • With the project’s support, BMZ has articulated its position on employment-related topics and participated in pertinent processes, e.g. regarding the 2030 Agenda, and the World Bank’s trust fund for employment promotion, the Jobs Umbrella Trust Fund.
  • Important topics that the project has supported and adapted for use in other projects include regional employment strategies, cluster analysis and promotion, and the effects of digitalisation on the future of work.
  • The range of employment promotion approaches in development cooperation are presented in the handbook ‘Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All’ as well as in various thematic studies.
  • The project provides development cooperation practitioners with valuable tips and assistance through handouts, specialist advice and training courses.