"Development in the Age of Digital Platforms" Conference


In this joint conference, the Münchner Kreis, the World Bank and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will bring together leading academics, policy makers, development practitioners, and industry representatives on the topic of digital platforms. These experts will discuss how development projects can influence, use, and support digital platforms in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals. The conference focuses particularly on Africa but also includes examples from other developing countries. The main goals of the conference are to promote dialogue and knowledge sharing about platforms and to generate recommendations for a policy paper on designing and implementing platforms in a sustainable, equitable way.


Through a unique combination of online workshops, keynote videos from African policy makers, online discussions, and a one-day face-to-face event in 2021, the conference will address the following questions: 

  1. How can platforms be designed and leveraged to support economic growth in developing countries, especially in Africa? 
  2. What are some existing examples of platforms that have been successfully leveraged for development? 
  3. How can platform business models be developed in a sustainable way? 
  4. What framework conditions and policies are needed to make sure platforms support the Sustainable Development Goals and work to close the digital divide?


Due to the COVID-19 crisis and travel restrictions, the workshops, which were originally planned as face-to-face events, will be held as online workshops during the second half of 2020. The organizers will notify participants who already registered for the face-to-face workshops in advance. If you are not yet registered but interested in attending the online workshops, please send an email to sylvia.vanziegert@giz.de

Upcoming events: The next workshop will deal with the topic of Manufacturing. Date is to be decided.


Please also note the podcasts with international platform experts and further resources at the end of this page

Health Care - April 1, 2020

Organizers: Münchner Kreis, Technische Universität München, University of Oslo, Center for Global Health. , Prof. Dr. Dr. Andrea S. Winkler (TU München and the University of Oslo) and Prof. Dr. Michael Dowling (Münchner Kreis and the University of Regensburg) hosted and facilitated the workshop. The well-attended workshop provided a broad overview of the opportunities and challenges of platforms in healthcare, their impact on society, and the general access problem seen in the context of the digital divide. 

Date(s): April 1, 2020 

Speakers and projects:

  • “Introduction to Platforms”: Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar (TU München) 
  • “Complexity and the Need for Policy”: Prof. Dr. Josef Noll (University of Oslo/Basic Internet Foundation) - Digital Health and Public Goods
  • Uwe Wahser and Saurav Battarai (GIZ) - Open IMIS Platform
  • Dr. Felix Sukums (Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences) - DHIS2 in Tanzania 
  • "Governing Digital Health Futures": Dr. Samuel Knauss (Charité) - A Digital Health Insurance Platform: mToday
  • Christian Franz (The Lancet and Financial Times Digital Health Commission) - Platforms and The Governance of Data 
  • Nanjira Sambuli (Independent researcher, policy analyst and advocacy strategist) - COVID-19 and the Implications for Digital Health Platforms 

First conclusions can be drawn from the report: [LINK] 

Education, Vocational and Digital Skills Development – June 16 and 18, 2020

Organizers: Dr. Sylvia Van Ziegert (GIZ), Samia Melhem (World Bank) and Prof. Dr. Michael Dowling (Münchner Kreis) 

Date(s): June 16 and 18, 2020 

Speakers and projects

  • Ekua Nuama Bentil (World Bank) - Africa Centers of Excellence 
  • Martin Hecker (CEO Amalitech), Kathrin Russner (GIZ, Special Initiative Training and Job Creation) - Digital Skills Accelerator Africa e.V
  • Nader Imani (Festo Didactic SE) - Festo Didactic SE 
  • Volker Lichtenthäler, Dominic Orr (GIZ Sector Programm) - atingi / Africa Cloud 
  • Robert Stüdemannn, Noela Tenku (GIZ Cameroon) - Go On platform 
  • Margaret Koli, Yannick Schillinger, Prof. Dr. Zeinab El Maadawi (United Nations University-EHS) - RARSUS and GlobeDrought

The presentations can be found at the bottom of this page


Manufacturing - tbd

Organizers: Michael Dowling (Münchner Kreis) 

Date(s): tbd. 

Speakers and projects

  • Prof. Wim Naudé (RWTH Aachen) and Dr. Jacques Ludik (Cortex Logic) - “Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa” 
  • Ronald Metschies (GIZ China) - “Digital Business Models in China” 
  • Li Shi (GIZ China) - “China Learning Platform Industry 4.0” 

Mobility - tbd

Organizers: Arturo Ardila Gomez (World Bank) 

Date(s): tbd

Speakers and projects

  • Veruschka Araes and Melkies Ausiku, LezGo (GIZ Namibia)

Finance/E-commerce - tbd

Organizers: Saliya Kanathigoda (GIZ) 

Date(s): tbd

Speaker and projects

  • Wolfram Zunzer (GIZ Africa) - Digital Platform WIDU 
  • Yiannis Theodorou (GSMA)

Agriculture and Food Production - tbd

Organizers: Christian Merz (GIZ) and Ananth Gudipati (WFP) 

Date(s): tbd

Speaker and projects

  • Sieka Gatabaki (Digifarm) – Mercy Corps 
  • Rikin Ghandi (Digital Green) – FarmStack 
  • Parmesh Shah (World Bank) – One Million Farmer Initative 
  • Himanshu Verma (GIZ India) – niceSSM 

Energy - tbd

Organizers: Bernd Sörries (WIK) 

Date(s): tbd

Speakers and projects

  • Mini-Grid in Africa and South East Asia