How Development Cooperation in Afghanistan Works


Intergovernmental Negotiations

The German and Afghan governments collaborate and negotiate annually to discuss funding for bilateral development cooperation. During negotiations, German and Afghan governments discuss the distribution of funds for the year, depending on areas that have high priority, and contingent on both sides upholding conditions. In 2012, the countries together signed a bilateral partnership agreement, with a commitment to implement shared values of democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance as well as to reform public administration and fight corruption in Afghanistan.

Germany continues to provide Afghanistan with substantial funding for civil reconstruction efforts, supporting the country in fighting poverty, establishing good governance, and improving economic conditions. The overarching objective is to create the foundation for lasting stability, security, peace and sustainable development. Explore the history of Afghan-German relations.


Designing projects

Together with Afghan partners, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) designs long-term, sustainable projects. This is done in consultation with the implementing organisations Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and KfW Development Bank. The projects are tailored towards specific conditions in Afghanistan and adapted to local needs.

When planning a project, a feasibility assessment is conducted at local level to ensure measures are beneficial and sustainable. Doing so allows both the German and the Afghan sides the opportunity to align their contributions and meet their national requirements for the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Projects are aimed at benefitting the Afghan people and are designed to be taken over after completion by the respective Afghan partner institutions, such as ministries, state owned utility providers or companies, at the provincial and central level. Proper operation and maintenance of infrastructure investment is the core responsibility of the Afghan state and the respective partner institutions. The German government expects the Afghan state to fulfil the responsibilities that come with full ownership for the country’s sustainable development.


Technical Cooperation

Technical Cooperation (TC) is a direct form of contribution that develops the capacities of individuals and institutions on the ground and at the central level in Afghanistan. It is carried out by the German state-owned implementing organisation GIZ or other, specialised implementing organisations, such as the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the National Metrology Institute (PTD).

In Technical Cooperation, the implementing organisation, generally GIZ, acts as a broker and transfers technical, economic and organisational knowledge and skills directly to Afghan counterparts. Afghan partners, such as relevant ministries, are involved at all stages of implementation, including at the national, provincial and district level. See the Afghan-German Cooperation’s list of Afghan partners here.

This puts Afghanistan in a position to independently implement sustainable development work in future, improving living conditions and realising its objectives while ensuring efficient and sustainable use of resources. GIZ has international and national personnel who ensure that the work runs smoothly on the ground. Read more about the role of national personnel on our strategy page. The projects are planned and implemented in close coordination with Financial Cooperation.


Financial Cooperation

Financial Cooperation (FC) aims to support Afghanistan in financing development measures agreed upon between Afghan and German governments. The German state owned KfW Development Bank together with the Afghan partners assesses the planned project to make sure it is developmentally sound, realisable, beneficial and sustainable.

BMZ and the Afghan government conclude agreements which are binding under international law. KfW – on behalf of the German government – enters into a financing or loan agreement with the Afghan partner institution responsible for the implementation of the project.

KfW has international and national consultants who monitor and supervise implementation. It also has national personnel on the ground to support Afghan partners to successfully implement measures.

After the project has been carried out, it is examined by international consultants and KfW during a final review to determine whether it has achieved its objectives and is ready to be handed over to the partner. Find out more about how KfW works.


Non-State Cooperation

Alongside governmental development cooperation, non-state cooperation plays an important role in providing development programmes and projects in Afghanistan. German, international and Afghan non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including foundations and private organisations, often have better access to and relationships with people on the ground, inspiring trust in their work.

These NGOs also play an important role in improving transparency, empowering people and giving them a voice, and fostering accountability of public institutions. They have been involved in the country for years and have put in place structures and networks that foster development in the long run. These organisations work closely with state actors and Afghan partners. NGOs and the German government also work together exchanging in-depth experience and views.


Feasibility Assessments

Before projects are implemented on the ground, they are carefully examined and prepared. In the case of Technical Cooperation this is financed by the Study and Experts Fund (SFF), in the case of Financial Cooperation by the Study and Advisory Fund (SBF). Both funds include studies and expert reports on the feasibility of projects, advisory services, risk analyses, the deployment of experts, and the necessary activities and intended impacts of a measure.

In addition, the relevant fund may also be responsible for implementing complementary measures to a project as well as for follow-up, evaluation and reviewing the results. The funds make it possible to implement overarching measures that are not limited to one particular project or topic. The BMZ has to approve each individual measure.


Project Implementation

Afghan experts working for the implementing organisations like GIZ and KfW play a particularly significant role in the implementation of the projects. The approaches used in technical and financial cooperation consistently aim at mutual learning and together creating conducive environments for proper planning, implementation and monitoring. The approaches also aim at proper operation and maintenance, thereby encouraging Afghan ownership.

Together with international experts, Afghan staff collaborate with Afghan partners to professionally plan programmes, manage their implementation and ensure effectiveness and sustainability of all activities. Read more about implementation on the ground on our strategy page.


Final Evaluation

When a project’s implementation comes to an end, external assessors carry out a detailed evaluation of its effectiveness, sustainability and efficiency in accordance with international quality standards. Their conclusions are fed into future projects. Find out more about this process.