Digital technologies as a catalyst

Digital projects of Business Scouts for Development increase income, strengthen skills and improve the security of people worldwide

Everyone is talking about digital transformation. The use of digital technologies offers solutions to various problems - especially for achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Digitalization is therefore also a thematic focus of German development cooperation. Digital pilot projects have been enriching the portfolio of cooperation with companies for years.

The Business Scouts for Development programme advises and networks German, European and local companies and start-ups from the digital and tech sector so that they can use their technologies to promote development. The Business Scouts also offer support in the development of digital projects in developing and emerging countries to actors who do not originally come from this environment. Within the framework of the programme, numerous such projects have already been implemented and established as best practices - from Rwanda to Peru. More information on the specific offer of the Business Scouts for Development programme for companies on the topic of digital transformation can be found here (only available in German).

Business Scouts for Development identify digital potential

The Business Scouts for Development act as intermediaries between German development cooperation and the private sector: As advisors in Germany and the partner countries, they support local and European entrepreneurs in business development and often discover potential for digital technologies. Whether for education and training, supply chain transparency or earthquake safety - the business scouts identify challenges for the economy and quality of life and address them with concrete digital solutions. In triad with digital companies, local institutions and the population, pilot projects are developed that can be scaled up elsewhere after successful implementation.

Example 1: Digital payment system strengthens the livelihood of smallholder farmers

Farmers in developing and emerging countries receive little recognition for their work. At the same time, the origin of products is often not transparent to consumers, who are willing to pay more - provided that farmers benefit directly. Business Scouts, together with the German Federation of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), therefore developed and tested a voluntary, digital bonus payment system (XtraPay), through which German supermarket customers can obtain additional information about the origin and pay a bonus, which the farmers receive directly. The project improves the living conditions of farmers and makes supply chains transparent. After the successful pilot in Germany, XtraPay is now being offered to Ghanaian consumers locally.

Contact: Anna Peter (


Xtra Pay Factsheet EN WEB

Example 2: Virtual technologies for the training of solar panel installers

Renewable energies are an important key to reducing the use of fossil fuels in developing and emerging countries and thus to creating a sustainable and climate-friendly economy while at the same time increasing energy demand. In many countries, however, there is a lack of trained experts and standards in vocational training and further education for renewable energies, including for the installation of photovoltaic systems. With the support of digital technologies, the Business Scouts for Development were able to implement a 40-hour training course for installers of photovoltaic systems at the Chambers of Commerce Abroad in Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay. What makes it special is that by using virtual reality headsets and the app "PV Training", the installation of solar panels on the roof can be simulated in a practical way and practised without risk.

Contact: Claudia Ilting (

Example 3: Digital education and training for women

Although the digital transformation offers developing and emerging countries many opportunities, dependencies on information and communication technologies can exacerbate the existing digital divide and thus social and economic inequalities. Women are particularly affected by this, as they often have less access to and more limited skills in using digital technologies. In the spirit of a feminist development policy, the Business Scouts therefore focus on the education and training of women in the field of digitalisation: The course Women Going Digital is dedicated to the qualification of women in various areas of digital transformation in Latin America and Africa. It will soon be rolled out in Namibia, for example. The Young Women Digital Programme project complements this offer and promotes the digital skills of young women in Africa to facilitate their entry into technically oriented jobs.

Contact: Christina Pfandl (


WGD 07 BSfD Fact Sheet (available only in German)

BSfD Young Women Digital Programme Flyer

Example 4: Digital early warning system to improve disaster management

Earth movements are one of the natural hazards in developing and emerging countries and can lead to considerable economic and personal damage. Business Scouts therefore advise and support the company Hesotech in establishing an early warning system for landslides in Rwanda. Hesotech's solution, equipped with digital intelligence, can detect, analyse and monitor even the smallest changes on the earth's surface at an early stage with the help of digital image data, so that inhabitants can be evacuated in time and other precautionary measures can be taken. Through the early warning system, densely populated areas with important infrastructure gain safety, resilience and adaptability to natural disasters often caused by climate change.

Contact: Mathias Brandt (


Fr├╝hwarnsystem Erdrutsch Factsheet EN WEB

About the Business Scouts for Development programme: The Business Scouts for Development work as development policy experts on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As such, they advise German, European and local companies and economic actors on development policy issues.

Photo copyright:

Wolfgang Hasselmann, 2022

Hannah Busing on Unsplash, 2021

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