International cooperation is pivotal to managing the current crisis and its impacts in less developed countries. ‘The coronavirus pandemic shows that we are intrinsically linked at a global level,’ stressed Tanja Gönner, Chair of the Management Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, at the annual press conference held last Thursday by the federal enterprise. The crisis is hitting developing countries the hardest, she added: ‘The aim therefore is to stabilise these countries and thus make them more resilient to future crises. This involves not only supporting health systems, but also, and above all, providing long-term effective, structural support to the economic and social systems in our partner countries,’ said Gönner.
GIZ is continuing to operate in around 120 countries worldwide – and has therefore been able to provide direct and targeted support during the acute phase of measures aimed at containing the pandemic. In consultation with its commissioning parties and partners on the ground, the company has earmarked total funding of EUR 110 million for emergency COVID-19 support measures so far this year, some of which it has already been redirected. GIZ also sees the potential to allocate a further sum of around EUR 130 million by the end of the year. A priority area of GIZ’s work is sub-Saharan Africa. Here, it has currently reallocated around EUR 23 million to the health sector and to fighting the pandemic. One way in which these funds are being used is to train medical personnel, nursing staff and laboratory workers, and to use digital systems to help track the spread of the virus. GIZ is also helping on the ground to supply locally-produced protective clothing and other materials such as thermometers, soap and handwashing stations for hospitals, laboratories and treatment centres, and to launch information and awareness-raising campaigns for the population.
These measures are part of the Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme drawn up by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Martin Jäger, Chair of the GIZ Supervisory Board and State Secretary at BMZ: ‘We will either beat COVID-19 worldwide or not at all. Supporting the poorest countries in their fight against the pandemic is therefore in our own interest as well. In GIZ, we have a strong implementing organisation with extensive experience in crisis situations.
Gönner also underlined the importance of looking to the future now: ‘Managing the coronavirus crisis also provides an opportunity to shape the subsequent development of society and the economy after the coronavirus crisis in a way that protects the climate and conserves natural resources, and thus contributes towards sustainability.’
Against the backdrop of growing global fragility, international cooperation has become more and more important in recent years. GIZ’s business volume increased by 43 per cent between 2015 and 2019, with EUR 3.1 billion recorded last year. GIZ’s commissioning parties are the German Government, the European Union (EU), governments of other countries worldwide, international institutions, foundations and companies. BMZ continued to be GIZ’s main commissioning party: at around EUR 2.6 billion, income received from business with BMZ remained consistently high. In recent years, GIZ has seen a sharp rise in the cofinancing contributions in the entire public-benefit business area, rising from EUR 246 million in 2015 to EUR 436 million last year, an increase of 77 per cent. In 2019, the EU was the second-largest donor, with EUR 375 million, with cofinancing contributions and direct commissions taken together. Almost half of the income GIZ generated in the public-benefit business area was from competitive tenders.
The growing demand for GIZ’s services is also reflected in its workforce figures. At the end of 2019, GIZ employed a total of 22,199 people from 153 countries: this represents a year-on-year increase of seven per cent. Around 70 per cent of the workforce are national staff in the countries of assignment.
Source: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), 02 July 2020