An inclusive, sustainable and stable economy makes an important contribution to a country's development. It creates jobs, secures incomes and drives innovation. Development cooperation (DC) depends on the participation of the private sector to promote long-term economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies, and to fund the necessary investments. Companies help the partner countries overcome social challenges by applying their technical expertise and innovative solutions. These include curbing climate change, nutrition and food security, maintaining social standards and digitalisation. Local resources, networks and knowledge required to put the technical expertise and new technologies to use are however lacking in many cases. For this reason the German Government has developed support and financing options to facilitate sustainable economic activities in the partner countries.
Networking local, German and European companies and economic institutions, along with the joint implementation of cooperation projects, opens up access to new markets and strengthens sustainable development in the partner countries.
To this end, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) makes an international network of experts available to the private sector. With the development policy experts (Business Scouts for Development), the project establishes an international contact structure for development cooperation matters. This network builds on the established approaches and relationships of five predecessor projects, bundles their services and continues to develop them.
The Business Scouts for Development are active in Germany and around 40 other countries. They advise German, European and local companies on the opportunities for promotion, financing and cooperation available through German and European development cooperation, facilitate networking with potential partners and initiate cooperation projects. In addition, by supporting business and learning partnerships, the transfer of knowledge and targeted support for trade fair participation, they not only generate new opportunities for trade but also improve prospects for local job creation.
The Business Scouts work in several priority areas to best utilise synergies within their network. These are driven by demand and the needs of businesses and the cooperation partners as well as BMZ's development policy objectives.
Currently focus areas are:
- Climate, energy, the environment and water
- Vocational education
- Agribusiness and the food industry
- Sustainable economic development
- Cooperation with foundations
- Support for trade fair participation
In Germany and Belgium (Brussels), the Business Scouts advise member companies of German industry umbrella organisations, the chambers of trade and industry, chambers of craft trades, industry associations and state-level organisations. They also work for foundations in cooperation with the non-profit enterprise Engagement Global. In the partner countries, they are either integrated into German development cooperation offices or work as integrated experts in the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and Delegations of German Industry and Commerce.
The Business Scouts therefore have a liaison function. They are familiar with local conditions and regulatory structures as well as the needs of the private sector, and they are networked directly with German development cooperation on site. This allows them to selectively promote long-term economic participation in development cooperation matters in developing countries and emerging economies.
The integrated experts are placed through the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM). They are employed by the local chambers of commerce abroad and receive additional funding by the Business Scouts for Development programme.
Last update: January 2021