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Lower Saxony, global partnership with the Eastern Cape (South Africa) and Tanzania

Partner(s), EU:
Federal State of Lower Saxony, Germany

Partner(s), developing country:
Eastern Cape Province in South Africa and Tanzania


Objectives and Period of reference:

With its development policy guidelines, the Lower Saxony state government has laid the foundations for implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in 2015.
 The guidelines set out principles for development policy in Lower Saxony and at the same time identify specific areas of action. Development policy is becoming a mainstream issue for all ministries, cutting across all areas of state policy. This is reflected in the priorities set out for cooperation with the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa and Tanzania, where sustainable projects ranging from professional training to climate change action, school and sport-based youth exchanges, to water and waste management and energy efficiency are in the pipeline or already being carried out.

South Africa
Since 1995, Lower Saxony and the Eastern Cape in South Africa have maintained a vibrant partnership, marked by a wide number of projects and an active culture of visits. The signing of a new joint declaration during the visit of the deputy prime minister of Lower Saxony, Stefan Wenzel, in October 2015, the year of the 20th anniversary, demonstrated the wish of both regions to remain committed to continuing the partnership. When the cooperation first began, the key objective was to promote the development of efficient and democratic administrative structures at a provincial level and to establish cooperation in the areas of business, education and tourism. The partnership was continuously developed and nowadays notably covers scientific cooperation, youth exchanges, sport, renewable energy and agriculture.


Picture copyright  © Ulrich Reimann (Rainbow Agency) and ASC Göttingen e.V

The Lower Saxony state government has been involved in Tanzania since 2010. In particular, it supports projects in the areas of higher education, health and basic services, and works to strengthen national development cooperation. Lower Saxony has thus fulfilled the wish of former German president, Horst Köhler, namely for the federal states to become more involved in the Sub-Saharan region.

  Picture copyright Leibniz Universität Hannover   

Total resources (€):
EUR 330 000 for the year 2016


Context and Outline description of the strategy and programme

In the light of the high-risk routes for economic refugees, in particular those from African countries, via the Mediterranean, development cooperation is becoming increasingly important. The causes of migration must be tackled in the countries of origin. South Africa and Tanzania are important receiving countries for displaced persons in Africa. By supporting structures on the ground, we help to avoid conflicts over resources and job opportunities. An important priority of the Lower Saxony state government in the partner regions in Sub-Saharan Africa is therefore professional training, with a view to giving young people access to quality training and employment and providing them with better prospects in their countries of origin.

Development-oriented educational work in schools and adult education should throw light on the effects of globalisation and the root causes of displacement and migration. A sustainable lifestyle is being promoted. Effective tools for sustainable economic activity include fair trade and fair procurement, which the state government has already legally committed to through the Law on Collective Bargaining and Public Procurement. The development policy guidelines also aim to strengthen civil society organisations in Lower Saxony that are involved – primarily on a voluntary basis – in development policy.

 Activities and (expected) results

South Africa

The Federal State of Lower Saxony is cooperating with the Eastern Cape Province in a number of areas including sport, culture, education, police, professional training, university education, HIV/AIDS, renewable energy, waste management and agriculture. Lower Saxony is also supporting local development cooperation, for example the cooperation between the City of Oldenburg and the Buffalo City metropolitan municipality. Development organisations such as the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and enterprises from Lower Saxony that are located in the Eastern Cape, such as Continental and Volkswagen, are also involved in projects. A number of current projects are presented below by way of example.

The first two are pilot projects for implementing the development policy guidelines.

  • As well as the numerous collaborations between secondary and vocational schools in Lower Saxony and their South African counterparts, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture has set up a pilot project with the GIZ on "Skills development for a green economy". The aim of this project is to involve education providers from Lower Saxony, e.g. cross-company trade training providers and vocational schools, in the GIZ’s nationwide project, thereby supporting the introduction of the dual professional training system in the Eastern Cape.
  • The Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel University of Applied Sciences and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) have for more than 10 years been involved in scientific cooperation in the field of automotive engineering. In 2006, it was agreed to set up a new international chair in automotive engineering together with partners, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and VW South Africa. Through the "Fully variable valve control" and "Projekt K71" joint research projects, the aim is to motivate young students to undertake further study right through to Ph.D level, by involving bachelor students from both sides in research from an early stage. This dedicated work on nurturing young talent forms the basis for the successful development of the international chair in automotive engineering at the NMMU. A scholarship programme funded by the DAAD and VW SA has been set up to support young South African students. The aim is to facilitate and improve exchanges between German and South African students in both directions.
  • The priorities for sports cooperation, coordinated by the State Sports Federation, are sports management and development. Sports development is being actively supported in the Eastern Cape through measures in the areas of various sports, such as triathlon, boxing, handball, table tennis and football. The work of the many volunteers under the Weltwärts programme, run by ASC Göttingen, is also particularly worthy of mention here. The Sport-34 volunteers work in township schools and children’s homes providing physical education. In addition, with the support of Continental AG it is possible to provide children with other sporting activities such as swimming courses, football training and sports days. Four volunteers from the Eastern Cape are also working with the Weltwärts programme in Lower Saxony (www.weltwaerts-sport.de).

Picture copyright ASC Göttingen e.V



In 2010 and 2011, project visits took place in Tanzania involving representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Lower Saxony, in order to explore possible areas of cooperation. The aim was to build on existing structures of schools, universities, ministries, churches, a dockyard and NGOs in Lower Saxony and to strengthen ongoing projects in Tanzania with a view to helping people help themselves. The Lower Saxony state government wishes to use its ability to influence policy and promote cooperation projects in Tanzania in the long term through its personal and logistical expertise.

The projects will be carried out in Tanzania with the help of partners from Lower Saxony-based universities, schools and businesses, and sometimes NGOs. The project most symbolic and important for regional economic development – namely the restoration of the MV Liemba, formerly the Graf Goetzen, built almost 100 years ago in Papenburg in Lower Saxony and still sailing on Lake Tanganyika – is a symbol of German engineering prowess and craftsmanship, as well as being part of a common historical heritage between Tanzania and Germany. The ship became a myth due to films such as The African Queen. The ship is urgently needed for developmental policy reasons, particularly as female traders around the lake are dependent on a reliable shipping connection. It also currently serves as a means of transport for the UNHCR to bring refugees from Burundi to Tanzania. While the vessel is seaworthy, it is in urgent need of repairs. Options for funding these repairs, potentially involving businesses, are currently being examined.

An example of successful development cooperation is the cooperation between the youth circus from Lower Saxony, Circ'A Holix and the performance group from Natiro Secondary School. During the visit of Natiro Secondary School pupils to Hannover, a joint performance took place at the Small Party in the Big Garden event, which attracts thousands of people each year.

Lower Saxony’s project-based cooperation with Tanzania focuses on:

  • university-based cooperation (student exchanges, supporting research and doctoral studies)
  • setting up a diagnosis workshop for providing speech therapy to the local population and training and developing special pedagogical professions
  • school partnerships (e.g. the water project between the Helene-Lange School Hannover and the Msitu Wa Tembo Secondary School in Langasani)
  • empowering women and girls (building and equipping a building and providing resources for vocational training for girls who are at risk of female genital mutilation)
    renewable energies (installing solar kiosks for charging mobile lamps, which replace harmful petroleum lamps)

Contacts for additional information

Nicole Ewert-May
Lower Saxony State Chancellery
Planckstraße 2
30169 Hannover
Tel: +49 (0)511 120 6787
E-Mail: Nicole.Ewert@stk.niedersachsen.de
Internet: http://www.niedersachsen.de/politik_staat/europa_internationales/internationale_beziehungen/die-internationalen-beziehungen-des-landes-niedersachsen-20056.html


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