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Aspiration and Reality. On German Development Cooperation

What can and should German development cooperation achieve? Fighting poverty, of course! Economic progress, obviously! But climate protection and preventing pandemics are also on the agenda today. And the wish list seems to be inexhaustible. In this issue of International Reports, we point out why good intentions do not necessarily produce good results and why German development cooperation would be well-advised to focus on the essentials.

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Aspiration and Reality. On German Development Cooperation

  • Editorial

    “Billions to no avail?” – this question was used to headline an article published this year in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about Germany’s expenditure on develop­ment cooperation, which, the article states, is increasingly being questioned and criticised at home.

    by Gerhard Wahlers

  • Interest-based Policy Rather than a Save-the-World Approach

    Why German Development Cooperation with Africa Must Be Reconsidered

    Germany’s interests in Africa are self-evident. They range from business and security to political partnership in the context of global systemic rivalry. But is Germany making use of all its options to preserve its interests on the neighbouring continent? The answer to this is: no! Particularly in view of the immense investments that Germany is making in the field of development cooperation, the question must be raised as to whether these investments could not be made in a much more targeted manner – to the benefit of the African partners, but also in our own interest.

    by Stefan Friedrich, Mathias Kamp

  • Trapped in the Crisis Mode of the Status Quo

    Jordan Is Stable, Not Least thanks to German Support – But a Political Strategy Is Lacking

    Jordan has become one of the top recipients of German development funds over the past decade. As a way of supporting an anchor of stability that cooperates with the West in the otherwise so troubled Middle East region, this has certainly been successful. Yet not only does international aid to Jordan risk getting mired down in details. The influx of money from abroad also takes pressure off the elites to reform, and the country is stuck in a cycle of dependency. Instead of continually embarking on new projects, development ­cooperation with Jordan needs a political strategy – and that applies to cooperation between Jordan and Germany, too.

    by Edmund Ratka

  • A Just Transition?

    Transforming Energy Systems in Africa

    German development cooperation with African countries largely centres around the concept of a just (energy) transition towards low-carbon development of industry and infrastructure, as is prominently highlighted in the new Africa Strategy published by the Lead Federal Ministry. Even though creating jobs and boosting economic growth must be a key element of cooperation with Africa while at the same time taking into account environmental protection and biodiversity, it is questionable whether Germany’s approach of a “just transition” adequately does justice to African countries’ development priorities.

    by Anja Berretta

  • Rule of Law Cooperation in Practice

    Case Studies from the Western Balkans

    The rule of law is elementary for a functioning democracy. This is why its promotion is a key component of German development cooperation. But how do projects in the legal field actually work? What are the challenges involved? And what can be said about the effectiveness of rule of law work? Here we look at some case studies from the Western Balkans.

    by Pavel Usvatov, Julia Leitz

Other Topics

  • Total Peace in Colombia?

    President Petro’s Agenda between Aspiration and Reality

    Since taking office in August 2022, Colombian President Gustavo Petro has pursued the vision of paz total – total or complete peace – and the reform agenda this involves as the linchpin of his government’s agenda. Negotiations with remaining guerrilla organisations and criminal groups create opportunities but involve major challenges, too.

    by Stefan Reith

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About this series

International Reports (IR) is the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's periodical on international politics. It offers political analyses by our experts in Berlin and from more than 100 offices across all regions of the world. Contributions by named authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai) +49 30 26996 3388