The BMZ's commitment

Promoting education – a priority area of German development policy

Girl in a makeshift school in a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Promoting education is a priority area of German development policy. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Goal 4 on education constitute the international framework for the activities of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the education sector. The BMZ played an active part in shaping the Education 2030 Framework for Action. The Ministry is supporting its implementation both at the global level and in its partner countries.

Education strategy

The BMZ published an education strategy in July 2015 which is aligned with the education goals of the 2030 Agenda. The Ministry's approach is a holistic one that is based on the principle of "lifelong learning".

Germany provides support for all areas and forms of education and learning, from early learning through primary and secondary schools, to vocational and higher education, and adult education.

The main aims of this support are to ensure equal access to education and improve the quality of education services. Important cross-cutting issues are gender equality and inclusive education that takes the diversity of learners into account and excludes no one.

The BMZ also supports non-school, non-formal education activities. These forms of learning are geared to specific work and life situations and also reach people who have not previously had access to the formal education system. They include adult literacy classes, training programmes for apprentices in micro-enterprises, and health and nutrition courses for young mothers.

The regional focus of Germany’s activities is Africa and the Middle East. Special attention is given to instable and crisis regions. Education for displaced persons has played an increasing role in the BMZ's work in recent times.

Increasing commitments for promoting education

In January 2014, the Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller announced that engagement in the priority area of education would be further expanded. He committed to invest a minimum of 400 million euros a year from the BMZ’s budget for activities and projects in the education sector. In 2015, the BMZ far exceeded this goal, making some 600 million euros available; and in 2016 as well the benchmark was clearly topped with funds amounting to 555 million euros.

In 2016, the German government made a total of 1.78 billion euros (net) available for efforts to promote education in developing countries. From this amount, 905 million was investments made by the Länder to cover study costs for students from developing countries studying in Germany.

The BMZ is currently supporting education and training measures in more than 70 countries through its bilateral development cooperation activities. Education is a priority area of cooperation in 10 of Germany’s partner countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Jordan, Lebanon, Malawi, Mozambique, Togo and Yemen (as at August 2018).

Multilateral activities

Alongside its government-to-government activities, Germany also provides input into international processes and organisations. For instance, the BMZ works closely with the Global Partnership for Education, GPE. Other important multilateral partners are UNESCO, the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, the World Bank and the European Union. Germany works with and supports the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), a regional network promoting education in Africa. In addition, Germany is a member of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, which supports training for teachers, and works closely with the European Training Foundation (ETF).

To find out more, go to

More information

BMZ glossary

Close window


Share page