In its development cooperation, the Federal Government aims to foster economic and social development and, in so doing, contribute to the alleviation of world poverty and to security, among other things.
An important instrument used by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the strengthening of social structures. Programmes supporting structural development are specifically designed to improve the living conditions of the impoverished sections of the population. Self-help concepts play an important part in the promotion of both social structures and the economy because, in the final analysis, poverty can only be reduced effectively if individuals learn to help themselves. Structural development requires integrated economies, i.e. regional markets without access barriers.
In turn, institutions and firms are necessary to connect markets and enable individuals to participate in the economic development. The private sector plays a particularly important part in this process. It goes without saying that the structure-enhancing capacity of MSMEs must therefore be supported and self-employed business people given greater opportunities to create jobs and generate income.
Cooperatives and their networks influence the social and economic structure of a country in a positive manner. In many countries, cooperatives are the backbone of economic activities in the financial sector, in commerce, in crafts and in agriculture. They boost the development of a country by making use of local initiative and economic strength in close proximity to the target groups. Cooperatives are amongst the most sustainable enterprises, combining the advantages of decentralized operations with the benefits of regional or national networks.
To this end, the DGRV is supporting the building-up of cooperative structures in the credit, commercial and agricultural sectors. Special emphasis is placed on the financial sector, notably microfinance. Savings and credit cooperatives are set up to provide marginalized groups with access to secure financial services.