Development cooperation


Latin America’s global significance is growing. The continent is also home to the largest tropical rain forest area in the world and over 40 percent of global biodiversity. Our cooperation with Latin America is is aiming mainly at protecting the rainforests and combating climate change.

A coffee processing center of a Kogi community (Colombia), supported by Germany (file photo)
A coffee processing center of a Kogi community (Colombia), supported by Germany (file photo)© Photothek/Köhler

A fiscal and tax policy aimed at narrowing the gap between haves and have‑nots can do much to foster social cohesion and strengthen democracy. If the region is to achieve lasting success in world markets and in the international arena, it also needs to strengthen social security systems and promote dialogue between all sections of society. For over 50 years Germany has been cooperating with the countries of Latin America to support the region’s development.

Germany is promoting bilateral development measures in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru. It works with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and the Caribbean on development policy activities with a regional or thematic focus. Cooperation with Latin America, a central partner in efforts to protect global public goods, focuses on environmental and climate protection.

Latin America is a continent of social disparities and inequality. Almost 30 percent of the population – around 167 million people – are classed as poor. Entire population segments remain excluded from the development process. In several countries, a lack of job prospects for young people and organised crime create a breeding ground for violence.

Many Latin American states are already implementing their own development measures in third countries. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is building on triangular cooperation as a link between development cooperation and South-South cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean to make it an established German development cooperation tool.

Protection and sustainable use of natural resources

The Latin American continent is home to the largest tropical rain forest area in the world. As a global “lung”, it binds on average 660 tons of CO2 per hectare, making a vital contribution to combating climate change. Latin America also has approximately 30,000 kilometres of marine coast with more than 13,000 species of animals and plants. While protection of the rainforests plays an important role in Brazil, Germany is supporting the creation of a biological corridor in Central America running from Mexico to Panama. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in cooperation with indigenous organisations, is promoting efforts to strengthen sustainable value‑added chains in forest management.

Embracing the fight against climate change

In the area of climate protection, Germany is helping its cooperation partners to prepare the ground for a secure and clean energy supply: by improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energies and supporting sustainable forest management. In recent years, for example, it has been possible, with German assistance, to increase the power generation capacity of renewable energies in Latin America by more than 1000 megawatts. In Central America and the Andes region, Germany is also helping countries to tap the potential of geothermal energy more effectively.

Peaceful societies, good governance, economic development

In an international comparison, Latin America is now regarded as a peaceful region. In the recent past, it has usually been possible to use international mechanisms to resolve conflicts between states. German development policy supports these peace processes and is doing its part to encourage reconciliation and reparation. For example, it has promoted measures to prevent violence among young people within the context of the Central American security strategy.

Although most of the countries of Latin America have democratic systems of government, they still face the challenge of enabling all social groups to participate equally in the development of their countries. German development policy has supported this not least through programmes fostering state and tax reform, decentralisation and public participation. It has also bolstered regional institutions and conflict resolution mechanisms, as well as the right of access to justice and human rights.

Cooperation between development policy players and the private sector also plays a key role. Many of the Latin American states are particularly suitable for public-private partnership approaches (PPP). As a cross‑cutting issue, vocational training is also to be specifically targeted as an area for promotion.

For more information:

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

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