Development is a booming market, and there's no better example in Germany than GTZ. The company released its annual report this week, announcing billions in revenues - in part due to increasing international demand.
The government provides 70 percent of GTZ's revenues
German firm GTZ, which provides technical assistance in the field of development, has released its figures for 2009, posting total revenues of 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) - an 18 percent increase.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin earlier this week, company head Bernd Eisenblaetter said the company's success is due in large part to increased cooperation with the business sector
It has undertaken reconstruction projects in war-torn Afghanistan, and Eisenblaetter said Asia is one of its fastest-growing markets.
A concrete example, he said, was a project to create a "nationwide, environmentally friendly and safe disposal system for used packaging and chemicals from laboratories in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines."
GTZ has worked on construction projects in Afghanistan
"That's an important step forward for the protection of people and the environment in Southeast Asia," he said. "But this is just one of many examples."
GTZ is one of the world's largest development firms, with current projects in 128 countries and it employs about 15,000 people worldwide. It works with both individual countries and international bodies like the European Union and the United Nations.
The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development provides 70 percent of GTZ's total revenue - about one billion euros - making it by far the company's most important employer. But apart from public funding, GTZ is also seeing an increase in contracts where the state works in cooperation with the private sector.
Eisenblaetter said many foreign projects are paid mostly by GTZ's foreign clients, not German taxpayers, and that the company's experience and high reputation in developing countries have contributed to its success.
A high priority of the German government is the halving of global poverty by 2015, one of the United Nations' so-called Millennium Goals, according to Deputy Development Minister Hans-Juergen Beerfeltz.
Beerfeltz, who also chairs GTZ's supervisory board, said Germany should also be profiting from the development market, citing a recent report which states that for every euro Germany spends in development abroad, one euro and 80 cents returns to Germany.
Beerfeltz hopes for more development aid
"I see a great opportunity here to further increase the return on Germany's investments in technical cooperation," Beerfeltz said at the press conference.
He added that despite record-high debt levels, German taxpayers generally support government funding to fight poverty, meaning his goal of increasing development aid by 2015 from 0.4 to 0.7 percent of gross domestic product is entirely realistic.
German government officials hold closed-door discussions of its 2011 budget in the coming days. Chancellor Angela Merkel has only said she wants to spare education and research funding from budget cuts, meaning an increase in Germany's development aid is still in doubt.
Author: Marcel Fuerstenau (acb)
Editor: Rob Turner