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Instruments and structures of development cooperationconcluded

The develoPPP.de Programme – a Portfolio Analysis

Companies that wish to operate in developing and emerging countries can apply to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for support through the develoPPP.de programme. DEval analysed whether and how the proposal, approval and implementation of projects are affected by country-specific factors.

Since the 1990s, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has increasingly sought to involve private enterprises in development cooperation. To achieve this it has created a system of incentives designed to promote so-called development partnerships with the private sector. The financially most substantial and therefore most important support programme is the develoPPP.de programme. This programme provides European enterprises that wish to invest in developing and emerging countries with financial support and professional advice.

Ever since such public-private partnerships began, the question has been whether the different interests of development policy and business can be aligned. DEval therefore conducted a so-called portfolio analysis to investigate how develoPPP.de projects are spread across developing and emerging countries, which differ in terms of their political frameworks, the attractiveness of their markets, their neediness and their significance for German development cooperation.

The portfolio analysis determined whether these country-specific factors had a conducive or constraining effect on the proposal of develoPPP.de projects by enterprises, and on their approval by the organisations of official development cooperation. It also looked at whether the factors affect the premature discontinuation of projects.

Findings and Recommendations

When submitting proposals, enterprises prefer countries that are politically stable and democratic, have a comparatively large domestic market and have good infrastructure.

At the same time, an increasing number of proposals are being submitted for countries that are comparatively poor and are particularly important as BMZ partner countries for German development cooperation.

The approval of proposals is positively affected by political stability, democratic frameworks and good market conditions.

The neediness of a country also increases the probability that such a project proposal will be approved. Thus, the selection of countries appears to align with the political objectives of the develoPPP.de programme. The programme envisages support for projects in the least developed countries.

The likelihood that projects are discontinued prematurely was not affected by the aforementioned factors.

From this it may be concluded that company- or project-specific factors were more likely to have played a role here. The analysis recommends including detailed information on the companies participating in the programme into the project database, in order to improve the database for future analyses.


This evaluation was concluded in 2016. The findings and recommendations are summerized above, the complete findings and recommendations can be found in the original report in German. 

Objectives of the Evaluation

The object of the portfolio analysis was the distribution of develoPPP.de projects across developing and emerging countries, which differ inter alia in terms of their political frameworks, their neediness, the attractiveness of their markets and their significance for German development cooperation.

Using an innovative database, the analysis looked at whether and to what extent private-sector and development-policy interests are aligned within the develoPPP.de portfolio at country level. These private-sector and development-policy interests are reflected inter alia in the selection of countries for develoPPP.de projects, and can be influenced by the enterprises through the submission of demand-oriented proposals, but also by the implementing organisations of German development cooperation through project approval and design. The portfolio analysis thus helps to answer the following questions:

  • Which country specific factors make it more (or less) likely that companies will propose a develoPPP.de project?
  • Which country specific factors make it more (or less) likely that a proposal will be approved by the implementing organisation?
  • Which country specific factors make it more (or less) likely that a project will be prematurely discontinued?

The aim of the portfolio analysis was thus to shed light on how country-specific factors affect develoPPP.de projects, from submission of the proposal, to approval, to implementation. This was designed to clarify:

  • to what extent private-sector motives – on the part of the companies submitting proposals – systematically affect the design of develoPPP.de projects;
  • to what extent the implementing organisations steer the process in favour of country factors that are relevant to development policy;
  • whether in this context a clash of interests or a possible alignment of interests is evident, and
  • whether country-specific factors affect the rate of discontinuation of develoPPP.de projects.


Since 1999, so-called development partnerships with the private sector have been implemented through the develoPPP.de programme, which is an instrument for involving the private sector in development cooperation. The programme aims to step up the involvement of enterprises in development cooperation in a public-private partnership arrangement, in order to use their experience and comparative advantages as a contribution towards the economic and social development of the partner country.

DEval performed a systematic evaluation of the develoPPP.de programme covering the period 2009-2015. The portfolio analysis of the develoPPP.de programme represents a contribution to that evaluation. Using an innovative project database, it analyses the pattern of allocation by the programme across countries by looking at the proposal, approval and implementation of projects during the period 2009-2014.


The analysis used various statistical methods and models designed to identify and quantify the potential causal links (for instance between the political frameworks and the probability of proposals being submitted), and predict the effect of various country-specific factors.

The portfolio analysis analysed statistical regularities. This involved average links across all projects. The study did not analyse individual cases, which may also be inconsistent with the structural findings presented. Moreover, these regularities need not necessarily be based on conscious decision-making processes such as a criterion for approval. They may instead be the result of an implicit decision. The findings are thus not a list of criteria. Rather they show in which countries develoPPP.de projects are more likely to be implemented on average, and how this country selection was influenced (consciously or unconsciously) by the proposal and/or approval of projects.

One major advantage of the methods used is that links between two factors (such as political frameworks and probability of proposals) are identified and quantified. However, although qualitative methods do possess this strength, they deliver only limited findings on the reasons that explain the identified links. Findings on the latter were generated by the evaluation of the develoPPP.de programme, which was based on qualitative methods.


Portrait von Dr. Kim Lücking
© DEval

Dr Kim Lücking

Senior Evaluator - Team Leader

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-991

E-mail: kim.luecking@DEval.org

Portrait Jörg Faust
© DEval

Prof. Dr Jörg Faust


Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-902

E-mail: joerg.faust@DEval.org

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