Germany curtails a program of direct assistance to many partner countries, including Central Asian countries, except Uzbekistan. What is the reason and what consequences will result?
Germany is going to change one of the components of foreign policy and stops joint projects with many countries-partners, which previously helped in the development. A major reform conducted by the Federal Ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ): it’s going on a one-third reduction in the number of partner countries from 85 to 60. For the Central Asian States this means that the bilateral cooperation Germany will remain only with one of them. DW explains more about the reform and its consequences for the region in which the changes in Germany while drew little attention.
Germany is not leaving the region as a partner
The new reform is the straightforward name “BMZ-2030” and has not yet acquired the final shape. In the Ministry talking about “concepts”, which should be approved during the summer. The Minister Gerd müller (Gerd M?ller) said that he intends to make the work more effective and visible. Care from 25 countries from around the world in BMZ explain the fact that some are already “so developed that don’t need support”, others “did not demonstrate progress in combating corruption, respect for human rights and the improvement of public administration”, as stated in a written response to the request Department DW.
Finally, in some countries, the BMZ believes that his assistance is lost on the background of large projects with other partners. Mueller had previously said that his Agency now intends to focus on “bilateral cooperation where our work brings noticeable results and which partners carry out reforms”.
In the Ministry insist that the decommissioning of cooperation does not mean “withdrawal of Germany as a partner” and is only “change forms of cooperation”. However, the reform will actually cease direct contacts between the two German States through intermediaries – Society for international cooperation GIZ and the state development Bank KfW.
Why is the money only Uzbekistan?
Important: the only partner in the BMZ’s Central Asia will remain Uzbekistan. “Thanks to the positive development caused by the reforms of the last three years, we have strengthened our cooperation”, – is spoken in the reply of the Ministry on the request of DW. In 2019, the BMZ agreed to support new projects of Tashkent in the health sector, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the reform of vocational training.
As for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, all the earlier projects with the participation of the BMZ will be brought to an end, assured in the Ministry. One of the projects GIZ, aims to improve vocational education needs to be completed by 2022, he did not threaten, assured DW project Manager. The total aid budget of Germany in cooperation with Bishkek, according to the German Embassy in the country is around 40 million euros in the current year.
Some of the projects on the basis of bilateral talks with representatives from Bishkek and Dushanbe can be extended. Further cooperation with these two countries in the region, BMZ sees only in cooperation with other international donors or situational assistance: in March 2020 to combat the pandemic coronavirus, the Ministry has allocated, according to its own data, half a million euros short-term aid.
Which projects will remain in Central Asia?
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan were dropped from the list of partners: they “had not been bilateral partners BMZ”, and have participated in several regional projects, says the Ministry. Finally, last but not least: on the basis of the provisional list, the Ministry of economic cooperation and development of Germany stops bilateral projects with Azerbaijan and Armenia, which after the USA, Germany was the second largest direct donor, according to the official information on the website of the German Embassy in Yerevan.
The curtailment of the BMZ does not mean the complete cessation of German support, at least in Kyrgyzstan. According to the German publication about Central Asia Novastan, other German ministries do not intend to leave Kyrgyzstan: publication lists environmental project Green Central Asia (German foreign Minister), a professional development program managers (Ministry of economy and energy of Germany), as well as the initiatives of the Ministry for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety of Germany.
Germany reduces regional cooperation
In Central Asia the message of the reform and curtailment of projects of the German Ministry gone unnoticed and not caused a public discussion, not counting Kyrgyzstan. As noted Novastan, in Bishkek, the news sparked criticism of his own government.
The BMZ plans sparked criticism in Germany. “I can’t understand the decision of the Minister Muller,” said the DW request the head of the parliamentary group of the Bundestag “Germany – Central Asia” Manfred Grund (Manfred Grund), the Deputy of the faction of the conservative CDU/CSU block part of the ruling coalition in Germany. The BMZ should not withdraw from the region because, according to the Deputy, “our cooperation with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has always been and still is familiar to the local civilian community, what we are interested in these countries and in the region.”
The Uzbekistan, says Manfred Grund, should not be considered a country that would benefit from a reform in Germany, and “the only one who will remain.” “The President Shavkat Mirziyoev always advocated the strengthening of regional cooperation, for example, the problem of the Aral sea, Grund said. But it can be solved only together with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Now the Minister Muller terminate this cooperation. He doesn’t care what that means.”
According to Grund, Germany his departure will leave “a financial and technological holes, which is, for example, China”. The exception of the Central Asian countries from the list of partners Grund believes “a serious regional political mistake which should be corrected”.
Earlier reform criticized another member of the Bundestag, Uwe Kekeris (Uwe Kekeritz) from the party “Soyuz-90″/ “green”. Edit list he called “technocratic”, and the new list of partner countries “lacking coherence”.