Kaffeesäcke aus Kolumbien

Colombia Hopes of peace and stability

Developments in Colombia since 2016 have been generally positive. Security has improved in large parts of the country, foreign businesses are investing more in Colombia's economy, and tourist numbers are on the rise. The improvement of the security situation is particularly marked in rural areas, where children are able to go to school again and people are now able to leave their homes in the evenings.

This has become possible thanks to a peace deal concluded between the government and the country's largest guerrilla group, the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), in 2016.

Prior to that, Colombia had suffered for more than 50 years under an armed conflict between government security forces, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitary groups. More than 260,000 people were killed in the fighting, and more than 80,000 "disappeared", with no information available on what became of them. Some eight million Colombians were displaced by the conflict, most of them (98 per cent) inside their country.

The hope is now that it will be possible to build lasting political and social peace in Colombia, resolve existing conflicts non-violently, and appropriately address crimes and human rights violations of the past. However, there have been a number of setbacks in the recent past. A breakaway FARC group announced that it would take up arms again, and in November and December 2019 a number of general strikes took place because people were dissatisfied with the current government.

International cooperation

Colombia plays an active role in important global development processes such as the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations climate negotiations. In response to the country's reform efforts, it was declared a "global partner" of NATO in May 2018, and in 2020 it was admitted to the OECD as a new member.

Relations with Germany

Germany and Colombia have close political, economic and cultural relations. Colombia is one of Germany's development cooperation partner countries, meaning that there is a programme of close cooperation based on intergovernmental agreements. The programme of cooperation currently focuses on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, environmental policy and resource conservation, and sustainable economic development.

Regierungsgebäude in Kolumbiens Hauptstadt Bogotá

Great challenges for the government and society Internal link

The conflict in Colombia began in the 1960s. At the time, leftist rural peasant guerrilla groups took up arms to defend themselves against land theft and the extremely unequal distribution of land ownership.

Ein Bauer in der Provinz Quindío, Kolumbien

Land distribution crucial for social peace Internal link

In the past few years, significant progress has been made on poverty reduction through a large number of economic and social reforms.

Ansicht der Stadt Cartagena an der kolumbianischen Karibikküste

Growth in the agriculture and construction sectors Internal link

Thanks to its vast resources (coal, oil), Colombia is the third-largest economy in Latin America (after Brazil and Mexico).

German development cooperation with Colombia

At the government negotiations in November 2018, Germany and Colombia decided to set up an alliance for peace and sustainable development. Its focus is on supporting the peace process. In order to bring the alliance to life, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed some 535 million euros to Colombia, including 500 million euros in the form of reduced-interest development loans. This is twice the level of funding committed in 2016. In addition, the BMZ is providing about 55 million euros for the work of civil society and faith-based organisations and political foundations.

Bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:

  • Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
  • Environmental policy and protection of natural resources
  • Sustainable economic development

Germany's activities focus on regions particularly affected by the conflict – Norte de Santander on the Venezuelan border, and Meta and Caquetá in central Colombia.

Colombia also takes part in the BMZ's "Migration for Development" programme. This programme assists people who wish to use the knowledge they have gained in Germany for the benefit of their countries of origin, for instance by returning there to work as specialists or set up a business, or by working from Germany to assist their countries of origin.

Cielo Gomez, eine Kaffeebäuerin El Tablón de Gómez, im Südosten des Nariño-Territoriums in Kolumbien. Ihre Familie hat im Rahmen des Friedensprozesses Land, das illegal besetzt war, wieder zurückerhalten. Durch ein UN-Women-Projekt hat sie erreicht, dass ein Teil des Landes auf ihren Namen eingetragen ist. Gemeinsam mit anderen Kaffeebäuerinnen in der Region kann sie sich jetzt eine wirtschaftlich stabilere Zukunft aufbauen.

Filling the peace deal with life Internal link

In order to support peacebuilding in Colombia, Germany assists government institutions and civil society organisations in jointly addressing the past conflict and developing models for the prevention of violence.

Landschaft südlich von Bogotá

Sustainable alternatives to illegal land use Internal link

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. More than half of its area is covered by forests. Some 15 per cent of the land has been made into protected areas. However, the country has lost several million hectares of forest over the last 30 years. This was caused, among other things, by increased farming, drug cultivation, illegal logging, and the extraction of mineral resources.

Bauernmärkte als "neues" Vermarktungsmodell: Für die Bauern aus den entlegenen Dörfern des Departamento del Meta ist es schwierig, ihre Produkte zu vermarkten – die Straßen sind schlecht und Supermärkte als Verkaufsmöglichkeit zu weit entfernt. Mit Unterstützung der regionalen Universität suchen sie nach neuen Möglichkeiten, um ihr Obst und Gemüse besser zu verkaufen.

New income opportunities in rural regions Internal link

While overall economic development in Colombia is dynamic, a large proportion of the country's rural areas are cut off from this development. Local and regional markets are not very developed, and small producers are not well integrated in economic cycles. Young people are unable to find jobs and thus migrate to the cities.