Germany is the world’s second largest development donor after the US, and the European Union’s (EU) largest aid provider. And yet its financial heft is not commensurate with its positioning on development in the EU. For the second time, Germany reached the aid target of 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) in 2020 (the first being in 2016, albeit in part due to its response to the high influx of refugees into the country), making significant contributions to the global pandemic response, including through the EU, COVAX, and the WHO. With a new government taking over the helm of the country and building on its financial firepower, Germany now has the opportunity to fully embrace a leadership role in the EU as an agenda-setter in development, driving forward innovative ideas, rather than as a mere broker.
The word digitalisation is on its way to become a buzzword that is not only used by techies but also by development professionals around the world. Just two years ago, in 2016, the World Bank devoted the World Development Report (WDR) to Digital Dividends, referring to the distribution of digitalisation benefits to a broader population. The WDR suggested inclusion, efficiency, and innovation as the main mechanisms through which digital technologies can promote development.