Woman in a café holds a bank card up to a reader

Focus topic: DigitalisationDigital transformation in developing countries and emerging markets

The digital transformation is changing society and the way we do business at unprecedented speed. Many companies are faced with the challenge of rapidly scaling their solutions into new markets in order to keep pace with a highly competitive world. At the same time, digital know-how and innovations present a major opportunity for developing and emerging countries, in particular, to strengthen their individual economies and generate sustainable growth.

Through the develoPPP funding programme, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports business initiatives that make a measurable contribution to digital transformation in these countries. Key starting points include pilots for innovative technologies in fields such as health, education and public administration, as well as training for local skilled workers to meet labour market requirements. 

More than
project countries
Project volume – of which 45% public-sector contribution
Basis: develoPPP projects geared to digitalisation between January 2018 and January 2022

In an increasingly digitalised world, technological shortfalls have considerable economic and social impacts. Companies can play an important role in improving the ability of developing and emerging countries to adopt technological advances and become more competitive.

  • Digital skills for the labour market 
    A lack of (practical) knowledge in the use of digital technologies makes it difficult to recruit local professionals and leads to widespread unemployment, often even among young and well-trained people. Projects supported by develoPPP tackle this problem by providing practical initial and continuing training programmes, often turning their focus on disadvantaged groups such as women or people with disabilities. 
  • Digitalisation of processes 
    As compared with analogue processes, digital solutions make it possible to process information more comprehensively, more efficiently and with fewer errors. This usually results in cheaper and better-quality services, which can be provided in a faster and more transparent fashion. Digitalised processes offer considerable development potential – particularly in public administration and the provision of basic public services. Potential applications within develoPPP projects are, for example, the piloting of digital technologies and scaling of innovative solutions developed by local start-ups.
  • Transparency in the supply chain 
    It is often difficult to seamlessly track manufacturing processes owing to the large number of suppliers and primary products involved. Digital solutions such as tracing apps and blockchain applications can make a key contribution to greater transparency in the supply chain and thus to complying with environmental and social standards. For example, develoPPP projects support the preparation and implementation of relevant digital processes. 
Professionals and trainees working on computers in the office (Africa and Middle East)

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST: Orange Digital Centers promote young tech talent

In collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, French telecommunications company Orange is setting up digital centres in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East. These centres are located both in capital cities and rural areas and comprise coding schools, manufacturing workshops for developing prototypes, and a start-up support programme. Through free training courses, internships in real-life projects, mentoring, presentations, challenges and test exercises, young people acquire skills that prepare them for the international labour market. The project is aiming to achieve a share of at least 20 per cent women in its activities.

Cyber-Security professionals sit around a conference table (Africa)

AFRICA: IT training to ward off cyberattacks

Only ten per cent of African companies are in a position to defend themselves against cyberattacks. The financial damage inflicted by such attacks is enormous. To remedy the lack of certified cybersecurity experts, SEC Consult Deutschland Unternehmensberatung GmbH together with DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH set up a train-the-trainer course, which enabled a total of 54 employees in African companies to become cybersecurity professionals. One aim of the course is to provide training in how to identify and ward off cyberattacks more effectively.

Harbor full of containers

AFRICA AND ASIA: Digitalisation of international customs and transfers of goods

Deutsche Post DHL is working with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to increase the efficiency and security of trade processes, including customs clearance, in Cambodia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Rwanda. For example, in cooperation with the responsible ministries and border authorities, selected import and export procedures will be digitalised and exporting companies will receive training in the new procedures. Faster and more inexpensive procedures will improve access to international markets, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Young people present the project (Kenia)

KENYA: Digital management solution for local public transport

As part of a pilot project for the develoPPP Ventures funding scheme, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH has cofinanced an investment project launched by Data Integrated Limited (DIL) in Kenya. This female-led fintech company has developed a digital payment solution – including a customer management system – for the local public transport service, which suffers from corruption and inefficient administration. Thanks to the new system, bus companies can monitor ticket sales and vehicle movements more effectively and thus improve efficiency and profitability.

Man leads a workshop on chemical use (Asia and Africa)

ASIA AND AFRICA: App to support sustainable chemicals management

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is cooperating with fashion companies Bestseller A/S, DELTEX Handelsgesellschaft mbH, Lindex AB and Orsay GmbH (up to 2022) to improve the transparency of chemical use in textile supply chains and reduce the use of hazardous chemicals. In total, 600 wet processing factories in Bangladesh, Turkey, China, India, Pakistan and Ethiopia will be provided with digital solutions and training courses to support the introduction of more sustainable conditions for production. The main focus is on the Bhive® platform, which helps to replace non-compliant chemicals with suitable alternatives.

Woman working at a loom

develoPPP Classic

develoPPP Classic is aimed at medium-sized and large companies that want to invest sustainably in a developing or emerging country and expand their operational activities locally. Suitable projects receive technical and financial support of up to two million euros in public funding.

Young empoyees in a discussion during a business meeting

develoPPP Ventures

develoPPP Ventures is aimed at young companies that are already active with an innovative business model in a developing or emerging country and are ready to take the next step. Within the framework of a matching funds model, a public growth investment of 100,000 euros is possible.

Carolin Welzel
Carolin Welzel Senior Consultant Agency for Business & Economic Development
Hans-Joachim Hebgen
Hans-Joachim Hebgen Senior Consultant Agency for Business & Economic Development
Daniel Thomann
Daniel Thomann Head of Programme DEG Impulse gGmbH
Kathinka Kurz
Kathinka Kurz Head of Programme Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH