Strategic advice on peace and development in the Middle East

Project description

Title: Strategic Advisory Programme MENA
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: MENA region (Middle East and North Africa)
Overall term: 2020 to 2022


Ten years after what is known as the Arab Spring, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA region) faces immense political, social and economic challenges. Internal and interstate conflicts are shaking up the region, shattering societies and social cohesion. National economies and regional networks of relationships are being destroyed or are coming to a complete standstill.

Germany is one of the largest intergovernmental donors in the MENA region when it comes to reconstruction and stabilisation. German development cooperation aims to promote peaceful and sustainable development through holistic and inclusive approaches. For its efforts to succeed, it is vital to strengthen the economy and create employment opportunities. In addition, the reconstruction of infrastructure must be linked with the resolution of social problems, taking conflict-sensitive issues into account.

In view of the complex challenges and the generally volatile situation in the region, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) relies on strategic advice. This enables it to react to possible changes in a flexible and informed manner and fine-tune its own projects proactively.


BMZ’s strategic cooperation arrangements in the MENA region are strengthened by operational lessons learned on Building for Peace, social contracts and long-term economic promotion.


The project supports BMZ’s Middle East divisions in developing strategic approaches and then promoting and implementing them through new processes and cooperation arrangements. To this end, it takes action in three components: Building for Peace, good governance based on new social contracts, and economic development and employment promotion.

For each component, the project collects and documents the results and impacts of development cooperation and evaluates the sharing of lessons learned and practical experience from workshops and conferences. In this way, the project can provide BMZ with sound and practical advice and incorporate the information into BMZ’s strategy.

Building for Peace

The project contributes to the further development of German and international discourse on Building for Peace in the MENA region. To this end, it supports BMZ’s cooperation with the World Bank with regard to the World Bank report Building for Peace: Reconstruction for Security, Sustainable Peace, and Equity in the Middle East and North Africa. To disseminate the strategy presented in this paper at national and international level, the project organises various discussion events. In addition, it is preparing a publication on the topic, presenting the core messages, practical experience and recommendations of German development cooperation.

Good governance through new social contracts

The project supports and advises BMZ on operationalising the ‘new social contracts’ approach to a greater extent in the MENA region and mainstreaming it in international discourse. A social contract describes a constructive relationship between the state and society based on reliable service provision, trust, dialogue and transparency. The project is thus reviewing German development cooperation projects in the MENA region with regard to their contribution to new and inclusive social contracts. In addition, it endeavours to further promote networking and knowledge transfer with international actors.

Promotion of economic development and employment

The project supports BMZ’s two Middle East divisions in the areas of digitalisation and green economy. Together with relevant actors in official development cooperation, it is drawing up an implementation paper for the MENA region on the basis of the BMZ Digitalisation for Development  global strategy. This paper analyses the regional opportunities and challenges, presents practical examples and uses them as a basis to formulate region-specific recommendations for action. In addition, it advises the regional divisions on the importance and potential of a green economy for the region.

Last update: April 2021