Lower Saxony is primarily involved in development cooperation on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa by supporting projects in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) and in Tanzania. In addition to development cooperation with partners abroad, the state supports development education and information work at home and promotes the Association for Development Policy of Lower Saxony (Verband Entwicklungspolitik Niedersachsen e. V. – VEN) in corresponding projects.
Since 1995, Lower Saxony has been working successfully with the Eastern Cape in the areas of qualified school/vocational education, university cooperation, expansion of renewable energies, youth encounters, culture and sports as well as in the field of health. Both partners support the exchange particularly intensively through voluntary services (e.g. "Weltwärts") in sports and social projects. The partnership is characterized by a lively culture of mutual visits, especially at the political level.
Since 2010, Lower Saxony has been providing targeted support for projects in Tanzania that build on existing structures and develop them further. In terms of content, the focus is on the school and vocational education sector (including inclusion, development of a vocational training center), research (promotion of young scientists and research), health care (training and further training of specialists in special education, newborn hearing screening), school projects, the expansion of renewable energies and water supply, as well as the improvement of living conditions for people in rural regions and food security.
As an active contribution to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the state of Lower Saxony adopted development policy guidelines in September 2015. In order to further strengthen civil society engagement, the Lower Saxony State Chancellery has set up a "round table" with various social groups, non-governmental organizations active in development policy, leading municipal associations, churches and business associations. In 2017, the cabinet adopted a strategy with concrete recommendations for action to implement the Development Policy Guidelines, and a progress report was submitted in 2021.
The "Round Table on Development Policy Guidelines" (Runde Tisch Entwicklungspolitische Leitlinien) now continues the dialog process with civil society and the specialist departments on current development policy topics through annual workshop discussions. The first workshop was held on 17 November 2022 on the topic of "Lower Saxony's food strategy - food security worldwide".