Joint forces to leverage innovation

How development advisors accompany matchmaking through

With the three programs EZ-Scouts, Global Business Network (GBN) and ExperTS, has access to a worldwide network of experts who accompany companies as they enter the realm of development cooperation. These experts offer practical support to companies looking for business opportunities through Their contacts to development cooperation institutions and programs in emerging and developing countries are a crucial contribution to help companies find reliable partners.

Connecting private sector and development cooperation

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), these experts advise interested companies on cooperation and funding opportunities as part of German development cooperation. This way, they advocate the responsible involvement of local as well as German and European companies.

Meanwhile, has become an integral part of consulting and networking services for the business community: "Often companies turn to me when they are looking for suppliers of specific products in developing and emerging countries. In many of these cases, I introduce them to and show them how to search for suitable suppliers," reports Mandy Piepke, EZ-Scout at the International Association of the Natural Textile Industry.

As part of the #BusinessVsCovid initiative, companies looking for a specific product can also publish their own search queries and offers on – as long as they are crisis-related and relevant to sustainable development. In this case, the experts create an individual listing for the company and accompany their matchmaking process. For example, they check incoming contact requests for suitability and provide support in establishing contacts and initiating business.

Thanks to, Mandy Piepke was able to initiate a successful collaboration in the case of a German entrepreneur looking for gemstones: "Once I had suggested to search for suitable offers via, it didn’t take long until a partnership with Namibian jewellery manufacturers evolved. About half a year later, I met the German entrepreneur at a trade show, where she displayed the first Namibian exhibits out of this cooperation."

Exhibits from the match between a German businesswoman and Namibian jewellery manufacturers (© GIZ/Mandy Piepke)

A global network

The Namibian gemstone offer was published by Christina Pfandl, GBN coordinator responsible for Namibia. After the successful match, she supported the business negotiations. This example demonstrates the effective cooperation of the three expert programs with

The professionals of the GBN and ExperTS programs are the first point of contact when it comes to cooperation between development cooperation and businesses – not only for German entrepreneurs, but also for local companies and GIZ projects worldwide. Together, they use to search for suitable providers for the solutions they need.

The cooperation even goes beyond the actual matchmaking: in 2020, GBN and jointly developed a new category for the platform, which presents funding and cooperation opportunities for business as well as German development cooperation projects aimed at companies. Interested companies can get an overview of the services offered by development cooperation and connect directly with the respective experts.

For Bernhard von der Haar, head of the EZ-Scout program, this cooperation is a strong benefit: "The interaction of the matchmaking platform and the network of ExperTS, GBN coordinators and EZ-Scouts offers companies comprehensive information, advice and networking on international business opportunities with development cooperation from one single source.

Around 30 ExperTS work at foreign chambers of commerce and German business delegations worldwide. Depending on their location, they work on different priority topics: e.g. sustainable economic development, vocational training, energy and environment or digitisation and start-ups.

The Global Business Network (GBN) coordinators support so-called Business & Cooperation Desks at eight selected locations in Africa and Asia. These are integrated into the local GIZ offices and closely linked to the network of the chambers of commerce abroad.

EZ-Scouts work as experts for development cooperation in German chambers of industry and commerce, trade associations, country associations, chambers of crafts and in foundation organisations.

Hero Image: © GIZ/Mandy Piepke

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