As German aid budget is set to rise to new highs, NGOs clamor for more

By Musa Okwonga 20 July 2015

Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. Merkel’s Cabinet revealed a 13.5 percent increase in the 2016 draft budget for its development ministry. Photo by: European Council / CC BY-NC-ND

At the beginning of this month, the German Cabinet unveiled its draft budget for BMZ — the government’s development ministry — for 2016, and the announcement was eye-catching: The budget will be raised 13.5 percent to 7.42 billion euros ($8 billion).

This increase is just the latest in what seems to be an annual rise of the development ministry’s budget since 2009, when it stood at 5.81 billion euros. The proposed increases were impressive across the board, with a further 600 million euros committed to countries affected by displacement, another 600 million euros toward health systems in Africa, and an extra 250 million euros in climate funding.

Although amounts have not yet been specified, there are pledges for BMZ to “increase its funding to fight global hunger and its investment in efforts to provide vocational education in North Africa and the Middle East” as well.

This budget reflects the particularly pressing nature of current global events. Between 2010 and 2014, the conflict in Syria has turned an estimated 3.3 million of its citizens into refugees — greater than the population of Berlin. The Ebola outbreak, meanwhile, has claimed more than 10,000 lives in West Africa, and prompted much soul-searching among donors and aid implementers as to how to strengthen local infrastructure for a more robust response in future. Germany, too, has long recognized the threat posed by climate change, and its new commitment reiterates that position.

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About the author

Musa Okwonga

Musa Okwonga is a journalist, poet, broadcaster, musician, and PR consultant currently based in Berlin, Germany. He has written for several publications, including The Guardian, The New Statesman, ESPN and The New York Times, and is the author of two books on football, the first of which, A Cultured Left Foot, was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Find out more about his work at

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