Employment promotion by development cooperation

One of the biggest challenges for developing countries is the creation of productive employment for a growing population. Decent work and income are central to poverty reduction, improved living conditions and social cohesion. The question is what governemnts and foreign donors can do to faciliattae the creation of productive employment; Growth alone cannot ensure it. Therefore, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) examines the experience of low and middle income countries with different employment policy instruments.

Project Lead:
Tilman Altenburg
Markus Loewe

Project Team:
Christoph Antons
Elvis Melia
Caroline Reeg
Tina Zintl


Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Time frame:
2014 - 2018 / completed

Co-operation Partner:


Project description

German development co-operation is increasingly focusing on Africa and the Middle East. The war in Syria, the destabilisation of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa and migratory movements from Africa to Europe are a cause for concern. They show more clearly than ever before how strongly the future of Europe also depends on the question if people in neighboring regions have prospects for peace and development as well.

Productive and decent employment plays an important role. One of the main drivers of destabilisation in Africa and the Middle East is that these regions suffer particularly from wide-spread unemployment, underemployment and informal, precarious forms of employment. Especially young people are faced with a bleak lack of stable and productive jobs. The question, therefore, is how to shape economic development in order to make it as employment-intensive as possible.

Since 2014, DIE has been looking at different aspects of this question. Currently, the focus is on the following four issues:

  • Which sectors bear the greatest potential for the creation of employment in sub-Saharan Africa?
  • How does the increasing spread of modern communication and information technologies affect the creation of employment in sub-Saharan Africa?
  • How can industrial policies help to raise the employment intensity of growth in countries of the Middle East and North Africa?
  • To what extent are public works programs also suitable for the creation of short-term employment and public goods (utility and transportation infrastructure) in war-affected and post-conflict countries (e.g. Syria, Iraq, Yemen)?


Employment creation through industrial policy in the MENA countries

Project Coordination

Sonja Packschies



Productive effects of public works programs: What do we know? What should we know?

Gehrke, Esther / Renate Hartwig (2018)
World Development 107