Organisation: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH


On 1st of January 2011, the three German Development Organisations DED, GTZ and InWent merged into the new “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH”. The organisation combines the different approaches and instruments of DED, GTZ and InWent.

Broad-based expertise for sustainable development

The services delivered by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH draw on a wealth of regional and technical expertise and tried and tested management know-how. As a federal enterprise, we support the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education work around the globe.

Tailored services

We offer demand-driven, tailor-made and effective services for sustainable development. To ensure the participation of all stakeholders, we apply a holistic approach based on the values and principles upheld in German society. This is how we facilitate change and empower people to take ownership of their own sustainable development processes. In doing this, we are always guided by the concept of sustainable development, and take account of political, economic, social and ecological factors. We support our partners at local, regional, national and international level in designing strategies and meeting their policy goals.

Developing solutions

GIZ operates in many fields: economic development and employment promotion; governance and democracy; security, reconstruction, peacebuilding and civil conflict transformation; food security, health and basic education; and environmental protection, resource conservation and climate change mitigation. We also support our partners with management and logistical services, and act as an intermediary, balancing diverse interests in sensitive contexts. In crises, we carry out refugee and emergency aid programmes. As part of our services, we also second development workers to partner countries.

Through programmes for integrated and returning experts, we place managers and specialist personnel in key positions in partner countries. We also promote networking and dialogue among actors in international cooperation. Capacity development for partner-country experts is a major component of our services, and we offer our programme participants diverse opportunities to benefit from the contacts they have made. We also give young people a chance to gain professional experience around the world – exchange programmes for young professionals lay the foundations for successful careers in national and international markets.

Who GIZ works for

Most of our work is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GIZ also operates on behalf of other German ministries – including the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Ministry of Defence, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research – as well as German federal states and municipalities, and public and private sector clients in Germany and abroad. These include the governments of other countries, the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. We work closely with the private sector and promote synergies between the development and foreign trade sectors. Our considerable experience with networks in partner countries and in Germany is a key factor for successful international cooperation, not only in the business, research and cultural spheres, but also in civil society.

Global reach – GIZ at a glance

GIZ operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. In Germany, we maintain a presence in nearly all the federal states. Our registered offices are in Bonn and Eschborn. GIZ has more than 17,000 staff members across the globe – some 70 % of whom are employed locally as national personnel. In addition, GIZ places or finances around 1,110 development workers, 700 integrated experts, 455 returning experts and 820 weltwärts volunteers. With a business volume of around EUR 1.85 billion, GIZ is well placed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. (Figures as at 31 December 2010)

GIZ in South Africa

Strengthening Local Governance Programme (SLGP)

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Department for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)
Partner: National Treasury, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), selected municipalities
Overall term: 2004 to 2013


The 278 local governments in South Africa face enormous challenges to deliver services to its citizens. Municipalities are required to fight poverty, strengthen local business, promote local democracy, improve infrastructure and utilities – water, sanitation, electricity, health services, environmental protection and transport. South Africa is still experiencing significant rural-urban migration that impacts on the larger municipalities in the form of housing, infrastructure and poverty alleviation services. The exodus of skilled labour is affecting levels of competency in the smaller and more rural municipalities. Development in the local government has fallen short of expectations and South African’s confidence in politics, administration and democracy is being challenged.


The programme aims to provide assistance in the process of refining policy and hands-on support to municipalities with emphasis on strengthening cooperation within the three spheres of government and between government, civil society and the private sector. It focuses on accelerating service delivery, local democracy and sustainable development with a strong focus on the poor.

The Strengthening Local Governance Programme (SLGP) was initiated in 2004 as a partnership programme between the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the South African Local Government Association, National Treasury and former GTZ. The programme is strongly aligned by the South African government’s policies and strategies, and the National Five-Year Strategic Agenda for local government is the guiding framework for GIZ’s support. GIZ’s contribution comprises a combination of policy consultancy and ongoing support for implementation. Co-ordination procedures are being introduced between the different spheres and tiers of government to focus on implementing participatory methods of enhanced governance.

SLGP addresses basically five national reform priorities, namely; intergovernmental relations and policy review, institutional strengthening of local governments, municipal financial management, local economic development and public participation. Knowledge management, gender and HIV-mainstreaming as well as integrated development planning are key cross-wise topics being specifically addressed. Since 2007, the programme also includes the Peace and Development Project.

Results achieved so far

Through GIZ’s approach of capacity development, SLGP has achieved numerous tangible results within the cooperative governance system of South Africa. Just a few examples are selected to illustrate the impacts: GIZ has provided support to the improvement of local financial governance through policy advice and established a system of training and capacity building for municipal finance officials. In order to promote the implementation of the ambitious Municipal Finance Management Act of 2004, GIZ supported National Treasury to develop a road show to inform all municipalities about the implications and requirements of that programme, which has reached more than 2000 participants. GIZ assisted in developing standardised procedures, manuals, guidelines and other support material for capacity development in municipal finance and integrated development planning which was introduced in all 283 municipalities.

Local economic development is a key element of the national strategy for sustainable economic growth. The programme develops innovative approaches and capacity development tools to mobilise local economic potentials. GIZ is involved in core advisory areas to develop efficient processes for local economic promotion. As a result, the regional gross domestic product grew in five of the advised districts in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga by 18 percent, and the number of jobs by 60 000.

Mbombela Local Municipality which comprises Nelspruit, the capital city of the Mpumalanga province, was placed under provincial administration in 2008 due to administrative and governance issues which hampered service delivery. The Provincial Executive Council intervened and assumed the running of the municipality. GIZ was approached by the council to assist with the institutional and organisational turnaround, and re-engineering of the dysfunctional municipality. Assistance focused on the broad areas of human resources, service delivery, management and financial viability. The effectiveness of governance structures, processes and systems was revisited. A change and institutional culture audit was conducted among 13 percent of the labour force to determine the value of culture to organisational performance within the municipality. The human resources policies at the Mbombela municipality were reviewed and a new appropriate strategy was developed to fill the vacant posts and address other human resources issues that were affecting staff morale. A new performance management system was developed and implemented with support of GIZ to comply with national standards and performance management regulations.

In addition, the Mbombela municipality has been advised and accompanied to re-instore public confidence in the management of public affairs through the innovative approach of “Moral Generation Indabas” in which hundreds of civil society members engaged with local government authorities. As a result of GIZ’s intervention through SLGP, the Provincial Executive Council returned executive powers to the Mbombela municipality which is in the process of functioning properly.

The knowledge and experience garnered by SLGP is receiving recognition elsewhere in Africa and GIZ – in conjunction with the South African counterparts - is presently supporting the Democratic Republic of Congo on the establishment of decentralised structures.

The work of GIZ in South Africa has been portrayed in a film that was produced in 2010/2011. The film "GIZ Strengthening Local Governance - Examples from the German Development Corporation in South Africa" illustrates the South African - German partnership in support of the local governance sector and demonstrates how development cooperation works and what it achieves. The 20 minute film is available in English (click here) and German (click here).