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Promoting innovation

At a glance

Innovation comes wherever disciplines and sectors collaborate on local problems, where these were formerly separated from one another. This applies equally to operators and to specialist areas. The path to local innovation through experimentation is often plagued with uncertainty regarding the outcome. The systematic use of innovations that were developed in other contexts has not proved to be durably viable in the past.

For German development partnerships, the focus is therefore now on identifying local needs and interested local partners. Digital Transformation Centres, a fund for subsidising open innovation and numerous specialist publications are used to boost the environment for local innovation in partner countries. Activities in connection with the innovation workshop and tech entrepreneurship initiative Make-IT as well as the World Summit Awards focus in particular on supporting open innovation.

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Improving access to software

Governments in developing nations are increasingly employing computer-managed processes that are based on software (e.g. to provide better healthcare services, improve tax justice for the state). However, this software is frequently not adapted to local needs. It causes dependencies, has a high total cost of ownership and leaves no scope for local innovation.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supports the use of open-source software in developing countries across multiple functions and countries. We are following the global trend towards open-source software here and the growing number of social enterprises in this field. Together with innovative partners, the use of open-source software should be supported to ensure that low-cost, adaptable and up-to-date digital technologies can be provided to achieve the SDGs. So far, the German development partnerships primarily use open-source software with innovative partners such as the Helmholtz Institute in individual sectors (e.g. Open system for billing health insurance in three countries, open digital system for disease prevention in Nigeria).