Cooperation with the private sector

Chambers and business associations – identifying joint strengths

Students supported by the aid organisation "Menschen für Menschen" (Humans for humans) training to become car mechanics

Dialogue between government and the private sector is a key element of development cooperation. Germany's official development bodies work with local business associations, chambers of trade and other professional associations as their partners, since such associations are often in a position to help improve the general economic conditions in developing countries.

An overarching aim of German policy is to help developing countries build robust social market economies. That is why the BMZ supports private-sector initiatives to promote the market economy – for example, by assisting with the setting up of proper organisational structures. To this end, German trade associations and other business membership organisations cooperate with partner organisations in developing countries – for example with local chambers of commerce as well as trade and small business associations.

By getting organised, private sector players in developing countries can help eliminate red tape and combat corruption. Building up networks that provide members with information and represent their interests to outsiders boosts the competitiveness of SMEs in particular.

Partnerships between chambers of commerce and professional associations

Since 1991, a non-profit foundation for economic development set up by the German private sector called sequa has been the implementing organisation responsible for carrying out the Chambers and Associations Partnership Programme (KVP) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To date, the foundation has implemented more than 200 KVP-related projects in 80 different developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

On the German side, fifty chambers of trade, industry and commerce, professional associations and employers' federations have become involved as project partners, working to support around 400 counterpart organisations (i.e. chambers and associations) in developing and transition countries.

The priority areas of cooperation are as follows:

  • Organisational development of chambers and associations
  • Design and development of a service package for businesses
  • Lobby work and policy dialogue
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Via the Chambers and Associations Partnership Programme (KVP), the BMZ also maintains a working partnership for international cooperation with the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation – the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation, SBFIC. In collaboration with the Foundation, the BMZ provides support to financial institutions in developing countries and emerging economies that work to foster economic and social development by offering banking services tailored to local needs.

Vocational training partnerships

In 2010, Germany's Development Ministry (BMZ) launched a programme of vocational training partnerships in order to make use of the expertise of Germany's chambers of commerce and business associations, and their more than 800 vocational training centres, for international development cooperation.

As part of this programme, German chambers and associations enter into a vocational training partnership with a similar body in a developing country or emerging economy. The priority areas of their cooperation are:

  • Improving the organisational structure of vocational education establishments
  • Improving the content (syllabus) of and methods used in vocational education
  • Introduction in a pilot phase of practice-oriented education and training programmes for new occupational fields
  • Advisory services for counterpart organisations on how to develop standardised qualifications and examinations

So far (as at April 2016), twenty-seven vocational training partnerships have been set up worldwide. There are plans to launch several more such partnerships in Africa. The BMZ has commissioned Germany's private sector development organisation sequa to implement these.

Development cooperation scouts: experienced advisors providing customised support

By setting up a squad of "development cooperation scouts" as they are called, the BMZ is placing the advisory services of experts with development know-how at the disposal of German businesses. The development cooperation scouts act as development advisors and are based at business associations, foreign trade organisations and chambers of industry, commerce and trade.

The development cooperation scouts advise companies about opportunities for becoming involved in Germany's official development cooperation activities, and about suitable business support services. By the same token, the development cooperation scouts supply the BMZ with information about the needs and requirements of the private sector. This exchange of information helps to ensure that funding instruments are constantly updated, and that German businesses are in a position to grasp what business opportunities are available in developing countries and emerging economies.

ExperTS: sending experts to German chambers of commerce abroad

In around 30 countries, experts selected by the Centrum für internationale Migration und Entwicklung (CIM) are advising both local and German businesses on development policy matters. The work of the experts is integrated with that of the chambers of commerce abroad (AHKs). It focuses on four priority areas of cooperation, namely:

  • Renewable energies/energy efficiency
  • Vocational training
  • Sustainable economic development
  • Establishing chambers of commerce and so on

The programme being promoted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) links up Germany's foreign trade promotion with its development policy. It is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with the help of German chambers of commerce and industry and delegations from the private sector, as well as bilateral business associations.

Video: Tanzania – Strong women for sustainable development

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The ExperTS Programme promotes sustainable economic activity worldwide on behalf of the BMZ. For example in Tanzania: as producers of products such as coffee or moringa, women are an important motor for the income of their own families and the economic development of the country. ExperTS has supported 116 Tanzanian women entrepreneurs through delegation trips and workshops.

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