View of the African continent from space

A new partnership for development, peace and a better future Cooperation with countries in Africa

Africa has great potential – potential which goes well beyond abundant natural resources, cultural diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and innovative force. By 2035, Africa will have the world's biggest potential labour force.

Africa's population is set to double by 2050, accounting then for 20 per cent of the world's population. Africa is where the global markets, workforce and customers of the future will be found. Accordingly, the challenge is to turn to account the continent's potential and provide work and prospects for the young people living there.

The countries of Africa have set themselves a highly ambitious agenda for the socio-economic transformation they need to accomplish.

The agenda sets out that, by 2063, Africa will be “a prosperous [continent] with the means and resources to drive its own development, and with a sustainable and long-term responsibility for its resources”. (Goal 1 of the African Union's Agenda 2063 (External link))

In order to help Africa realise this development agenda, we need an entirely new kind of collaboration, a political partnership between equals which offers support for Africa's own agenda. Africa needs African solutions. Therefore, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has taken a new direction in its cooperation with Africa.

Students in the metal workshop of a vocational training institution in Accra, Ghana

Students in the metal workshop of a vocational training institution in Accra, Ghana

Students in the metal workshop of a vocational training institution in Accra, Ghana

Africa needs sustainable jobs for young people

The Marshall Plan with Africa focuses on the single most important challenge facing the African continent: the need to create 20 million new jobs every year. In the long run, it is the private sector – and not development funding provided by governments – that generates jobs on the ground. That is why development funding is used, among other things, to improve the general environment for sustainable private investment. This helps to generate more jobs and incomes for Africa's young population, and to support economic development that is both self-sustaining and sustainable.

This requires peace and security, and efforts by our partners to improve the environment for investment in their own countries. The Marshall Plan is therefore based on three pillars that have their foundations in our cooperation to date:

  1. Economic activity, trade and employment
  2. Peace and security
  3. Democracy and the rule of law
Illustration: A pact on the future with Africa

Illustration: A pact on the future with Africa

Illustration: A pact on the future with Africa

Through its bilateral official development assistance alone, the BMZ currently already makes available in excess of 1.7 billion euros annually for joint activities with its African partner countries in these three areas. And, in 2017, the funds pledged by Germany came to around 2.1 billion euros for the first time since the Marshall Plan with Africa was launched. The existing portfolio of programmes is continuously being brought into line with the guiding principles of the Marshall Plan, and is underpinned with new development projects on the ground.

Vocational training centre in Kenya

Vocational training centre in Kenya

Vocational training centre in Kenya

Africa needs African solutions

Instead of the old donor-recipient paradigm, the basis for cooperation with our African partners nowadays is close political dialogue and a partnership based on mutual obligations. Targeted support is offered for African reform and development efforts with a view to complementing (rather than substituting) our partners' own efforts, because sustainable development is only possible if it is initiated and driven from within. Therefore, governments need to initiate reforms and live up to their responsibility towards their people. And that is why the BMZ, through what are called “reform partnerships”, makes targeted support available to countries which are willing to implement reforms.

That said, our guiding principle remains “to leave no one behind”. Germany stands by its responsibility to assist the least developed countries, which is why the Marshall Plan with Africa also addresses people's basic needs.

Building site in Accra, Ghana
Building site in Accra, Ghana

Joined-up development policy

The guiding principles and concrete recommendations for action contained in the Marshall Plan with Africa also inform the BMZ's policy dialogue.

Thus, the BMZ has been working with African partners, the German government, other donors, civil society and the private sector to further develop and implement the Marshall Plan. After all, the better the harmonisation of different players' efforts, the more effective their support for their African partners will be.

The following sections contain examples illustrating how the BMZ is implementing the Marshall Plan with Africa, the original text of the Marshall Plan as well as an overview of the online dialogue.

Cooperation in action

Vocational school in Ghana
Students of a vocational school in Rwanda
Mitarbeiter eines Eisenerzunternehmens in Mauretanien
Training of administrative staff
Workers in an opencast coal mine in Zambia
An employee checks Tetrapaks with fruit juice at a beverage producer in Kenya.
Employees of the solar power plant in Ouarzazate, currently the largest solar power plant in the world