At a glance
The digital transformation is changing the way individuals, societies and states interact worldwide. The benefits of digital technologies and methods are manifold. They help to make knowledge accessible and open up opportunities for exchange, cooperation and new markets. They make the archiving, management and processing of data more efficient and transparent. In this respect, the digital trans-formation is also playing an increasingly important role in development cooperation in the various sec-tors. The promotion and dissemination of digitization is therefore an independent development policy goal, which the BMZ is pursuing in a special way together with its partners.
At the same time, there are new challenges for development cooperation that need to be addressed. The unequal access of different population groups to information and communication technologies has created digital divides – between women and men, urban and rural areas, social classes. These population groups are at a considerable competitive disadvantage in a globalized world. In addition to the individual population, many partner countries are at the mercy of commercial and geopolitical interests in the digital realm, in some cases without countermeasures, negotiating leeway or know-how on complex special issues. Fair and sustainable offers are still lacking in many areas – for example, almost 30 African countries have no data protection legislation.
The Digital Transformation Centers address these challenges and focus on democratic and participatory processes to strengthen local structures, the economy and society. Along the BMZ Digital Strategy and its field of action of promoting local innovations, Digital Transformation Centers provide connecting structures in BMZ partner countries. Here, innovation, technical know-how, participation, IT knowledge, research and entrepreneurship are bundled. In addition, the local and regional operating centers share their experiences in a global network. This enables them to respond quickly to the continuously changing challenges in the field of digitalization in line with the demand.
Digital Transformation Centers operate with a modular structure based on the building block principle. Up to nine modules can be combined with each other, building on existing approaches and taking into account country-specific conditions. This structure enables the conception and centralized as well as decentralized implementation tailored to the needs and “digital readiness” in the partner country.
Unlike private-sector offerings, which mostly promote elites, the work of the BMZ Digital Transformation Centers focuses on promoting women and girls as well as people affected by the digital divide. The Digital Transformation Centers also work with new political partners, such as ICT and digital ministries, tech companies, and the digital ecosystem across countries to set a sustainable and broad-based course for digital transformation in partner countries.