Press release
Germany needs international digital strategy, and development policy has to play key role, says Schulze

Development policy is to play a key role in the German government’s future international digital strategy. This was announced by Development Minister Svenja Schulze today at an international conference on digital policy held by the BMZ in Berlin. In August 2022, the Federal Cabinet had decided that the government would draft an international digital strategy. The digital transformation is a key element for the achievement of the international Sustainable Development Goals. The Minister also launched a new development policy network entitled []. It unites partners from the private sector, academia and civil society with a view to furthering the goals of digital development cooperation.

Development Minister Schulze: “How can money be provided quickly to those who need it most urgently in an emergency? How can social protection systems be designed so as to respond quickly in times of crisis? And how can global weather data be used locally to provide warnings of impending climate-related disasters? In these and many other examples, digital technology is a major ally of development policy, because digital solutions prepare the ground for the development strides we need so urgently if we are to achieve our global sustainability goals. Germany needs an international digital strategy that adopts a broad view – and development policy must play a key role in it.”

The BMZ is working to foster a digital transformation that integrates the countries of the Global South in a globally open internet and fair data markets. To that end, it is vital to mainstream the development perspective in the national, European and international debate on digital.

Minister Schulze said, “When it comes to digital policy, Germany is itself in some ways a developing country. Indeed we can learn a lot from the countries of the Global South. And we Europeans share the same goal as many developing countries: we want to become more independent in finding digital solutions, because digital sovereignty is increasingly becoming a fundamental element in good development. What the BMZ can offer its partner countries is a digital policy that seeks to truly balance all interests and at the same time is based on European standards.”

In Europe, the focus is on giving users control of their own data again. In countries of the Global South, by contrast, big tech companies often still benefit from limited privacy regulations and control mechanisms. This is making it more difficult for these countries to expand their own digital structures.

The new development policy network [] pools digital expertise from the German development community. It unites experts from partner countries and from Germany’s digital community and brings together existing cooperation formats such as the Make-IT Alliance, digilab, Lab of Tomorrow, Business Scouts, and DigiCenters.

Watch the recording of the conference


Press release by BMZ, 12/01/2022, Berlin