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Partnerships: standing strong together

Global challenges call for common solutions. That is why we cooperate with many partners around the world, harnessing a wide range of concepts and constellations.

As a development organisation with global operations, GIZ works with a range of very different partners. We can only implement our commissions effectively, and bring about our vision of a better life across the world, if we share expertise, pool resources and learn from one another. Global challenges need common solutions, but different situations also require different strategies. We use triangular cooperation, for instance, with partners from our countries of assignment, to pass on our expertise and acquire new knowledge. In another scenario, we are sharing our business start-up expertise in Iraq on behalf of the World Bank. We also cooperate with other EU member states and the institutions in these countries as part of Team Europe, for example, accepting shared responsibility for the most urgent development issues.

One such issue is digitalisation in Africa. As part of a joint BMZ/EU project, the Belgian development agency Enabel and GIZ are implementing measures to digitalise the education and health care sectors in eight African states.

These are some of the results that Enabel and GIZ have achieved together in Rwanda:


national education guidelines have been revised.


school children and 380 teachers have benefited from training courses on digital education strategy.


instructors we have trained have passed on their new understanding of digital skills to more than 3,000 teachers.


health professionals have been trained in digital literacy.


national app was programmed that provides information on COVID-19 vaccinations and documents the user’s vaccination status.

Delivering effective support with Team Europe

The project was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a view to delivering tangible assistance as swiftly as possible. GIZ and Enabel joined forces and were selected by the EU to implement the measure jointly. The project was one of the first to be developed under the aegis of Team Europe. To allow it to start work without delay, the two organisations agreed to focus on their respective strengths on the ground and to split responsibility for implementation along thematic lines in the different countries. GIZ is responsible for primary education projects, while Enabel focuses on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and health projects. A joint project coordinator steers all project components. Financial and technical reporting are also joint tasks, along with project communication and attendance at trade fairs, specialist forums and other events.

This cooperation at European level reflects the Team Europe approach. As part of Team Europe, the Commission, financial institutions, EU member states and their implementing organisations support partner countries. Together they strive to achieve results that bring long-term changes. To this end, the various stakeholders contribute their expertise and carry out activities. This makes work at local level more efficient, more transparent and more visible from an external standpoint. GIZ is currently running over 300 projects that contribute to Team Europe initiatives, increasingly with implementing organisations from other EU member states.

Portrait photo: Emilienne Umuraza.

»In the spirit of Team Europe, Enabel and GIZ share networks, knowledge and experience, to better carry out the project and ensure a greater impact. In particular, we work closely together on cross-cutting themes such as gender equality and cooperation with the private sector. In sessions and coordination meetings, we plan together and exchange strategies.«

Emilienne Umuraza, Enabel Rwanda
© Emilienne Umuraza

Offering young people prospects

Several partners, one goal: in the Palestinian territories, three project partners are cooperating to improve technical and vocational education and training in the field of renewable energy.

The Palestinian territories, Brazil, Germany:

This constellation, which might appear unusual at first glance, is a triangular cooperation arrangement, within which GIZ is striving to enhance the employability of young people in the Palestinian territories following the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on renewable energy, specifically photovoltaic technology.

A woman with a headscarf and a man are on the roof of a house, carrying a large solar panel together.
© Hassan Eslaeeh

We need global partnerships in which every section of society does its bit to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. This is a clear commitment to our shared responsibility because challenges like poverty, climate change and economic inequality call for common solutions.

The Brazilian and German project partners bring their expertise in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to the project, for instance by advising on curriculum development. In September 2022, Brazilian professors also held a 10-day training course on photovoltaic technology in the Palestinian territories. It was attended by Palestinian teachers from various technical schools and colleges, who were able to act as multipliers and pass on their newly acquired knowledge to their colleagues and students.

‘The Palestinian territories benefit hugely from this cooperation, and from German and Brazilian expertise,’ explains Alice Guimarães, who is managing the project for GIZ in Brazil. ‘But the Palestinian side is obviously also making a major contribution, providing the facilities and laboratories and many other resources of their own. At the end of the day, all three partners benefit from the cooperation arrangement, especially when it comes to research.’

GIZ engages frequently in triangular cooperation like this. The advantage of this sort of partnership is that all parties share their knowledge and findings. They learn from one another and accept responsibility. Because there is often no clear distinction in the projects between beneficiary, knowledge holder and supporter, all parties benefit and the partnership between the countries involved can flourish.

Germany and Brazil have been working together in triangular cooperation arrangements for many years with different partner countries. On the German side, the arrangements are implemented by GIZ, while ABC, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, is responsible on the Brazilian side. The commissioning parties for this project are BMZ and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE). On the Palestinian side, the International Cooperation Agency (PICA), the ministries responsible for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) under the coordination of the National TVET Commission and the private sector through the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce and Industry are involved in the project.

What the partners have to say:

Portrait photo: Samer Hussein.

»One of the most important aspects of this partnership is the opportunity for us to learn from Brazil’s expertise in renewable energy and Germany’s experience in vocational education.«

Samer Hussein, Director General of Technical Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Palestinian territories
© Samer Hussein
Portrait photo: Alice Guimarães.

»Working with so many institutions with very different ways of working sometimes presents us with challenges, but we also see a high level of commitment and engagement on all sides.«

Alice Guimarães, GIZ project manager in Brazil
© Alice Guimarães
Portrait photo: Felipe Almeida.

»The trip to the Palestinian territories was an exciting experience for me. We shared our knowledge and also learned new things ourselves. For example, that photovoltaic plants on Palestinian roofs need to be propped up differently than on Brazilian roofs, because the roofs are flat instead of slanted. I am looking forward to the return visit.«

Felipe Almeida, Professor for Photovoltaic Technology at the Instituto Federal de São Paulo
and one of the leaders of the workshop held in the Palestinian territories
© Felipe Almeida

Shared values, complementary strengths

We enjoy a special partnership with the World Bank. The combination of financial strength and implementation expertise allows us to achieve more for people in our partner countries.

The World Bank, an international organisation affiliated with the UN, is an important actor in global development work – and a valuable partner for GIZ. By pooling the World Bank’s financial strength and GIZ’s implementation expertise, we can carry out projects more effectively. Social protection is one field in which we work closely together.

‘Social protection’ is an umbrella term, used for a wide range of welfare services that governments around the world provide to citizens. Health insurance schemes, unemployment benefit, widows’ pensions and support when natural disasters strike are only a few examples. The World Bank is the largest financier of social protection projects in the Global South.

Photo: Two smiling women wearing headscarves and looking at a screen.
© GIZ / David Degner

In Rwanda, for instance, the Government has been pursuing an ambitious plan since 2008 to raise people out of extreme poverty with the help of extensive social welfare benefits. Part of these efforts has involved introducing a new digital social registry. In the long term, this system is designed to facilitate registration and the payment of benefits. The World Bank is providing financial support for this project. On behalf of BMZ, we are providing complementary technical assistance. In close consultation with the World Bank, the advisory services we deliver to the Rwandan Government focus on honing the efficiency of analyses of data already available in the social protection sector, as well as regularly updating the new digital social registry and effectively linking all digital data in the public realm. We also provide training for the civil servants working with the new system. These complementary measures allow the World Bank-financed social registry to reach and support a larger number of people more rapidly and more efficiently. This is our contribution to making the World Bank’s investment more effective.

In fragile contexts too, where exceptional circumstances often call for flexible solutions, our cooperation with the World Bank has proved its worth. The CARP project in Iraq is a good example. It supports small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups that were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enterprises can use a dedicated platform to apply for start-up financing and can benefit from coaching and training. The World Bank is funding the project, while GIZ International Services is implementing it on behalf of Iraq’s Ministry of Finance. Under CARP we work with the Iraqi central bank to enhance the institutional framework for the microfinance sector, thereby helping small and medium-sized enterprises recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic. Find out more about GIZ’s cooperation with the World Bank in our interview with Alexandre Laure from the World Bank.

Portrait photo: Alexandre Laure.
© Alexandre Laure

»Trust is the secret ingredient that makes a project successful.«

In Iraq, GIZ has entered into a novel alliance with the World Bank, with GIZ acting as the implementing agency for the CARP project (see box). Alexandre Laure, a Senior Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank, explains what makes this cooperation arrangement special.

Mr Laure, how is the partnership between GIZ and the World Bank in Iraq different from other World Bank projects?

Usually at the World Bank, we channel our projects through the national governments, and they then get implemented by federal departments or public agencies. For CARP, we were looking for opportunities to grow the private sector in Iraq outside of the usual suspects, such as oil and gas or construction. Therefore, we focused on the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. But this area of economic activity was still nascent at the time in Iraq, and the government lacked experience with implementing this type of project. Usually in these cases, we would look for an NGO or a UN agency to take on the role of implementing partner. But given the track record of GIZ in this area in Iraq, we felt that they would be the most suitable partner to support the government.

How come?

When we got funding for the project, I had already been working in Iraq for over a year, and I had gotten to know GIZ as the most insightful and experienced partner on the ground in this field. We wanted to maximise the chance of success of the project, and GIZ was well positioned to do that. What is more, GIZ and the World Bank share a mutual understanding of multilateral engagements. At the World Bank, we follow the consensual guidance of our shareholders, and not the interests of just one country. We always work on behalf of the people, in this case the Iraqi people. I felt that GIZ would implement the project in the best interest of current and future entrepreneurs in Iraq.

Why was it important to you to work with an experienced partner?

It was crucial to deliver the project with a partner that had credibility in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, because this sector is based on trust. Investors trust entrepreneurs to deliver on their ideas. If either the investors or the entrepreneurs lacked faith in the governance structure of CARP, the project would have been doomed to fail. Trust is the secret ingredient that makes an entrepreneurship and innovation project successful, and GIZ was the most trusted partner in this ecosystem.

Were there obstacles you had to overcome?

In order for GIZ to implement the project, we had to make a hybrid arrangement: the Iraqi Government would receive money from the World Bank and then transfer it to GIZ who used it to implement CARP activities. That added a lot of complexity and required a lot of trust on all sides. Fortunately, from the beginning, we at the World Bank and GIZ had a very good working relationship which allowed us to overcome these obstacles. Likewise, the World Bank and the Iraqi Government have an excellent relationship, so that all issues were dealt with smoothly, even during COVID. The way things are going, we are expecting the project to be a great success.