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SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

How everyone benefits from balanced growth

Several hundred million people around the world are unemployed; others have work, but do not earn enough to make a living. Only a flourishing economy creates jobs, but the aim is not to promote work at all costs. Economic growth on its own is not sufficient to pave the way to a sustainable increase in prosperity for all. In addition to material prosperity, social harmony, an autonomous life, and a clean and intact environment are also essential elements of development that can be jeopardised when the pursuit of profit is the sole objective. Rather, it is about qualitative growth that seeks sustainable progress in economic, social as well as environmental terms. An important basis for development is the creation of employment and income, because fairly paid and socially secure jobs offer a way out of the poverty trap. However, many employment relationships are still subject to exploitative conditions, forced and child labour as well as dangerous workplaces are widespread, and people can hardly live on their income.

KfW Development Bank therefore promotes economic growth that enables decent work. It invests, for example, in funds that give companies access to loans. Prospering companies create employment and generate income. KfW also promotes the construction of infrastructure, which directly and indirectly secures jobs. In addition, it supports the expansion of vocational training systems that make it possible for employees to receive qualifications orientated toward market demands. Furthermore, KfW promotes innovation in partner countries and is financing a broad spectrum of technologies, as demand on the global market is primarily for high-quality products. KfW is supporting its partner countries as they expand value chains and improve products, thus creating more productive jobs with higher incomes.

A functioning financial system is the basis of every economy. To give companies and people in partner countries access to financial services like loans, bank accounts and insurance, KfW is supporting local financial institutions – which also contributes to a prosperous economy and thus stable employment.

In its partner countries, KfW Development Bank promotes employment through qualitative economic growth that equally bears economic, social and ecological aspects in mind.

Its involvement is making an impact: with just the commitments from 2020, which amount to nearly EUR 2.6 billion, over 2.4 million permanent jobs have been created and secured. The commitments created and protected over 66,000 jobs by promoting small and mid-sized companies. Many KfW projects indirectly contribute to the creation and protection of jobs. The impact on the downstream value added chain in particular has major potential, even if it cannot be reliably quantified. With new or better-quality measures for professional training programmes, KfW reached more than 204,000 people, including over 88,000 women, with its commitments from 2020. Over 8 million people are able to access insurance to protect themselves from the impacts of crop failure due to climate change. This protects them against loss of income due to events like droughts or floods.

Decent work and secure jobs create the foundation for prosperity and well-being. Economic growth that is not simply seen within the economic context but also viewed with ecological and social dimensions in mind, is the foundation for sustainable development, particularly for SDG 8.

SDG 8 on the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) website (German only)

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KfW's contribution to SDG 8

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