Reducing inequalities worldwide

Project description

Title: Fund: Policy coherence for sustainable development – Measure ‘Inequality’
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global, Partner countries: Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Viet Nam and Zambia
Overall term: 2020 to 2024

This photo was taken in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It illustrates the inequalities between the inhabitants of the exclusive and prosperous suburb of Masaki and the people living in the poorer suburb of Msasani. Most expats and wealthy people live in Masaki or Oyster Bay, the former ‘European territories’ reserved for the colonial masters.


71 per cent of the world’s population live in countries where inequalities are increasing. In many German development cooperation partner countries, too, inequalities are remaining at a consistently high level or on the rise. Growing and high levels of inequalities jeopardise sustainable economic growth, political systems and social cohesion. In particular, they marginalise vulnerable sections of the population.

The 2030 Agenda includes a stand-alone goal to reduce inequalities (Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 10). Since its inclusion, the topic has also delivered key insight in the debate on development. For example, redistribution is possible and provides for more sustainable economic growth. A further finding is that economic growth and development do not automatically reduce inequalities or poverty.

Reducing inequalities is a more effective tool than economic growth for fighting poverty – and at the same time, it helps reduce environmental impact. Reducing inequalities (SDG 10) is therefore crucial for implementing the 2030 Agenda as a whole and for ending poverty (SDG 1).

Despite increasing knowledge regarding the complex causes for and interrelationships involved in inequalities, there are still few measures and policy initiatives that address it purposefully. Donor countries and development partners now face the challenge of identifying and implementing an effective mix of measures for the respective countries.


Partner countries are successfully implementing measures that reduce inequalities.

This photo was taken in Mumbai, India. It shows the surroundings of the Bandra-Kurla Complex, where extreme wealth and extreme poverty meet. The Bandra-Kurla Complex is home to the consulates general of several countries, corporate headquarters and the National Stock Exchange.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project advises German development cooperation partner countries on reducing inequalities. 

To reduce inequalities effectively, its specific causes must be identified in the respective countries. In cooperation with the governments of the partner countries Namibia, South Africa and Viet Nam, the project therefore develops strategies and approaches to reduce inequalities. The process also involves selected development cooperation projects in the respective countries. The capacities of the responsible ministries in the partner countries are being increased in order to implement the measures.

In addition, the project facilitates the exchange of experiences, enabling governmental, scientific and civil society stakeholders from an expanded group of partner countries to develop recommendations for action. New approaches for reducing inequalities for the respective countries are passed on through the exchange of positive and negative lessons learned in the field of policy-making. 

The project seeks dialogue with international organisations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in order to mainstream the topic in international debate. The specialist exchange expands and deepens knowledge on comprehensive policy-making approaches and therefore promotes the integration of the approaches and strategies into internal processes.

In addition, departmental rounds of discussion are held with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, in which strategies for reducing inequalities are introduced. This is intended to lend the topic higher priority on the German Federal Government’s agenda.

Additional information