Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)



The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany develops the guidelines and the fundamental concepts on which German development policy is based. It devises long-term strategies for cooperation with the various players concerned and defines the rules for implementing that cooperation. GIZ is a German federal enterprise and supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The EAC Programme ‘Support to the EAC Integration Process’ is implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ.

Why development cooperation?

The German government, in close cooperation with the international community, is actively engaged in:

  • Combating poverty
  • Securing food safety
  • Establishing peace, freedom, democracy and human rights
  • Shaping globalisation in a socially equitable manner
  • Preserving our environment and our natural resources

Development cooperation is one of the most important instruments for achieving these goals. The German government regards it as an imperative of humanity and of reason. Reducing poverty, promoting equitable forms of globalisation and building peace are the guiding principles.


Africa is changing rapidly. In the first decade of the 21st century the sub-Saharan region saw its longest period of growth since the 1960s. The average growth rate was almost 6%, and the economies of several African countries were among the world’s fastest-growing.
In almost every country of the continent, multi-party presidential or parliamentary elections have been held. Regional and pan-African cooperation enforces this positive trend. Joint African organisations and institutions promote cross-border cooperation, shared values and conflict resolution mechanisms.
The image of the region is gradually changing as a result of progress made and opportunities available. The new political energy evident in many African countries today is creating a good foundation for strong social, economic and ecological development in the sub-Saharan region.
In a growing number of countries, an active civil society keeps a critical eye on what their governments are doing. Thanks to enhanced regional cooperation, Africa is increasingly speaking with one voice and starting to emerge as a player on the global political stage.

Regional Cooperation in Africa

Following the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, a number of regional groups have been set up across the continent. These organisations were primarily concerned with economic affairs but, to some extent, they were also seeking closer cooperation on political issues.
Regional integration received a boost in 2002 when the African Union (AU) replaced the OAU. African states have acknowledged their responsibility for peace and security, democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law and comprehensive good governance. These principles are considered to be the cornerstone of economic growth, sustainable development and effective action to combat poverty.
Today, the regional organisations, with their mandate to drive political and economic integration forward, form a connecting link between pan-African processes and the national level.
Thus they have an important part to play in the implementation of the new African political agenda.
The principal regional organisations in sub-Saharan Africa are:

  • East African Community (EAC)
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
  • Central African Forest Commission (Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale) (COMIFAC)
  • Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale) (CEMAC).

The growing cooperation among African states offers excellent opportunities for preventing and resolving regional conflicts, providing a major contribution towards peace and security. At the same time, it provides a foundation for economic development in the region. The economic and political options open to individual states are limited – closer regional economic and political cooperation pushes back these limits significantly.
Germany is very much interested in seeing Africa resolve its problems independently, using its own capacities. The continent is, moreover, an important partner in tackling global challenges. Without the collaboration of strong African states it will not be possible to secure peace and reduce global poverty, tackle the challenges posed by climate change or resolve energy and raw material problems.
Continuing regional and pan-African integration has reinforced the positive changes seen in recent years. African bodies and institutions are paving the way for trans-national cooperation, shared values and conflict resolution mechanisms.
The African Union and the regional economic communities play an especially important role in this process. Regional cooperation and regional integration provide a multitude of opportunities to harness development potential and to protect development processes from threats posed by conflict and insecurity. Besides its bilateral cooperation with African states, the Federal Republic of Germany therefore puts great emphasis on support to trans-national regional bodies. German cooperation focuses on the following sectors:

  • Regional governance reform processes
  • Peace and security
  • Trans-boundary water resources management
  • Regional economic integration

Support to the EAC Integration Process

Since 1998, German development cooperation has contributed towards the capacity building of the Secretariat of the East African Community (EAC). As part of German development cooperation, the programme ‘Support to the EAC Integration Process’ combines measures for organisational development at the EAC Secretariat for improving economic policy competencies to establish the Common Market in East Africa.

Facts & Figures


Germany is the first country in Europe to establish a ministry for development cooperation.


Total volume of funding for German EAC Technical and Financial Cooperation since cooperation began in 1998.

Significant contributions were made towards harmonising taxation procedures as well as patenting law and pharmaceutical production in the EAC economic area. A third area dealt with creating an institutionalised dialogue among the EAC, the Private Sector and Civil Societies. Support to foster information on and media coverage of the regional integration process in the EAC complement this approach.
The development of a regional quality infrastructure for the pharmaceutical sector in the EAC is supported by the National Metrology Institute (PTB).
The German government has financed the construction of the new EAC headquarters building. The main counterpart of German cooperation within the EAC is the EAC Secretariat, based in Arusha, Tanzania.
In addition, the German Government is providing financial assistance to the EAC in order to support the regional health programmes organised by Aga Khan University as well as the regional immunisation programme of the EAC in collaboration with the GAVI alliance; the Transboundary Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, implemented by the EAC Lake Victoria Basin Organisation (LVBC), in order to contribute to improved water and sanitation infrastructure in selected EAC border towns; the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) of the Aga Khan University, a recently established regional Centre of Excellence for media education in East Africa, located in Nairobi.

More information: www.bmz.de