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2015-12_dc

38 D+C  e-Paper  December 2015 Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Shifting paradigms In the past 60 years, German development policy has taken many different strategic approaches. The changes were motivated by concerns relating to intra-German, foreign, security, economic and environmental affairs as well as peace building. In light of the serious crises facing the world today, however, German devel- opment policy will have to focus on global cooperation in the future. By Michael Bohnet My new book (Bohnet 2015) on the history of German policy concerning international development assesses the paradigm shifts of the past, and highlights major future challenges. Before discussing the challenges in detail here, I will provide a brief sketch of the history of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): ■■ From 1961 to 1966, Walter Scheel, the first minister to head the BMZ, was guided by intra-German matters. His priority was to prevent developing coun- tries from establishing diplomatic rela- tions with East Germany. ■■ In response to the tight labour market, Scheel’s successor, Hans-Jürgen Wisch- newski (1966 to 1968), wanted to boost employment. Development policy was supposed to create jobs in Germany. ■■ In contrast, Erhard Eppler (1968 to 1974) emphasised the ecological lim- its to growth. Accordingly, his policies centred on environmental protection, but also on meeting people’s basic needs. ■■ The tenure of Egon Bahr (1974 to 1976) was dominated by the oil price shock. Bahr wanted to involve oil-rich coun- tries in the promotion of agriculture in the developing world for example. ■■ Marie Schlei (1976 to 1978) expected development policy to serve women’s advancement. ■■ Rainer Offergeld (1978 to 1982) con- sidered development policy an instru- ment of détente at a time when tensions between East and West were growing once again. ■■ In reaction to renewed labour market problems, Jürgen Warnke (1982 to 1987) again emphasised the positive impact developmental efforts would have on employment. ■■ Hans “Johnny” Klein (1987 to 1989) viewed development policy in a his- torical context and liked to recall the scientific achievements of Germany’s renowned 19th -century Africa scholars. ■■ During his second term in office (1989 to 1991), Warnke, together with Hans Wilhelm Ebeling, East Germany’s last minister for economic cooperation, suc- ceeded in merging the two German min- istries for international development. Over two-thirds of East German develop- ment projects were continued. ■■ After German reunification, Carl-Dieter Spranger (1991 to 1998) was in a posi- tion to draft development policy without being hampered by Cold War ideology and geostrategic concerns. He empha- sised fighting poverty and upholding human rights. ■■ Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (1998 to 2009) expanded the scope of develop- ment policy, stressing the relevance of multilateral agreements and rules. Speaking of “global structural policy”, she campaigned for multilateral trea- ties and policies to tackle trade, climate, security and other issues in ways that would advance development. ■■ Dirk Niebel (2009 to 2013) emphasised the importance of free markets and wanted to support the private sector. He paid special attention to commercial and business interests. ■■ Gerd Müller (since 2013) has placed eco- logical, economic and social sustainabil- ity at the forefront of his efforts. The frequent paradigm shifts that German development policy underwent in 60 years made sense and were certainly legitimate. However, the current global financial, food and climate crises require more coherence and consistency in the future. Develop- ment policy must rise to huge challenges in order to bring about the global coopera- tion humanity needs. For this task, conventional official development assistance (ODA) is not the right tool. ODA is outdated and needs to be redesigned. One must keep in mind that the established industrialised nations of the Organisation for Economic Co­-operation and Development (OECD) have long ceased to be the only donors. Newly-industrialising countries in partic- ular are becoming increasingly important, and so are oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. The international influence of philanthropic agencies, espe- cially the Bill and Melinda Gates Founda- tion, is growing too. OECD member states spend about $ 135 billion per year on ODA, whereas various other donors afford a total of roughly $ 20 billion. It would be good if all donors adhered to the same rules. It is true, of course, that ODA remains indispensable for low-income countries. But other financial flows have a greater impact on the development of middle- income countries. Relevant funding is provided in the form of foreign direct investments, export credits, portfolio investments and migrants’ remittances. At the same time, the development of mid- dle-income countries is essential not only for reducing poverty, the traditional goal of development policy, but also for meet- ing the global challenges that are spelled out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustain- able Development. The complex international scenario has implications for German development policy: ■■ The global financial crisis showed what happens when the financial sector exerts a too strong influence on the real econ- omy. Development policy can play a role in reining in the problems. Policy makers should promote innovative taxes such as a tax on financial transactions, and they should support developing coun- tries’ efforts to generate their own taxes. Goals of development policy should thus include the establishment and strength- ening of national revenue services, audit

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