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Germany, Foreign Aid, and the Elusive 0.7% (Devex)

August 8, 2019

From the article:

In 2016, Germany became the world’s second-largest aid donor by volume — but as the country grapples with its new role as a development leader, the debate over the future of its aid budget is far from settled.

Earlier this summer, the German cabinet proposed bumping the development ministry’s 2020 budget to €10.37 billion ($11.63 billion) — €127.5 million above this year's allocation. It is difficult to calculate a total figure for German development spending in advance, because only a portion of the funds are channeled through the development ministry, or BMZ, but the development ministry’s budget remains the best barometer of overall spending.

Development Minister Gerd Müller — who has not shied away from criticizing previous budget decisions — issued a press release praising the move. He said next year's total would allow the ministry and its partners "to carry on with the important work we are doing in crisis and refugee regions and continue our long-term development projects."

Civil society organizations complained, however, that next year's numbers still fall far short of the U.N. goal of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid. The Association for Development Policy and Humanitarian Aid, known as VENRO, said an additional €2 billion was needed to hit that target in 2020...

From 15th place in the Center for Global Development's Commitment to Development Index in 2016 — which ranks countries on seven policy areas, including aid, that affect lower-income countries — it made a huge jump to third place last year, on the back of its efforts to help refugees and migrants, and its growing aid budget.

 

Ian Mitchell, who co-directs CGD’s development cooperation program in Europe, said that although there is room for improvement, particularly around its environmental policies, overall 'it's a positive story in Germany. It's great to see German leadership on this.'

 

Domestically, however, there are concerns that Germany is beginning to slip. It has failed to hit the 0.7% target again, falling to 0.66% in 2017, and to 0.61% in 2018..."

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