Background information

Seizing opportunities – delivering sustainability

Car manufacturing in Mexico

Solving the social, ecological and economic problems faced by countries worldwide is a challenge that cannot be met by the state alone. What is required is intensive cooperation between all sections of society. Governments, civil society and the private sector must assume joint responsibility and take concerted action. The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) encourages such concerted action by offering the private sector numerous schemes of support.

Responsibility borne by the private sector

Private enterprises have a considerable amount of influence on the process of globalisation. They play a key role in helping shape the social and cultural environment, as well as the conditions under which work, production and consumption take place. Their engagement and creativity also generate results in areas where the state wields barely any influence for political, economic or logistical reasons. This is why they are essential partners for German development cooperation.

Businesses can play a decisive role in helping to establish well-performing economies and a functioning infrastructure in developing countries. Their investments in developing and emerging countries by far exceed official development assistance (ODA). At the same time, their major influence on social development also means they bear huge responsibility.

A reliable environment

Germany supports the governments of its partner countries in their efforts to establish a social market order that is environmentally responsible and fosters sustainable enterprises while preventing business practices that have a harmful effect on humans and the environment.

Germany works to strengthen the dissemination and enforcement of internationally recognised standards for corporate conduct. The German government also works within the international community to help achieve binding agreements that will create enabling environments for business in developing countries.

Agency for Business and Economic Development (Agentur für Wirtschaft & Entwicklung)

The BMZ is engaged at various levels in working together with German and international businesses, professional associations and organisations, which it does successfully. Cooperating with the private sector puts not only additional money but also business know-how at our partner countries' disposal. In turn, this increases the effectiveness of German development cooperation.

The BMZ has set up the Agency for Business and Economic Development (Agentur für Wirtschaft & Entwicklung) at two sites, in Berlin and Bonn, to provide the private sector with advisory services suited to their needs. The Agency aims to operate at the point where the work of corporate business, business associations and development cooperation organisations overlaps. By providing advice to private sector actors who want to get involved in working with developing countries and emerging economies, the Agency is able to initiate new and innovative partnerships for sustainable development around the world.

BMZ glossary

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