Skip to main content
International Partnerships
News announcement22 April 2020Directorate-General for International Partnerships2 min read

Coronavirus: EU calls for #smartdevelopmenthack


The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as European tech companies, international development agencies and civil society launch a global hackathon (#smartdevelopmenthack) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.

In response to the effects of the corona pandemic and to boost response capacities in African, Asian and Latin America countries, the European Commission is looking to quickly support its partner countries. The aim is to think outside the box and to find solutions in the digital environment for direct application in development projects. The European Union and its Member States are responding as “Team Europe” since the global crisis requires a global response. The Call for Solutions will focus on addressing the immediate health crisis and resulting developmental needs. To underpin these actions, the EU as well as BMZ will award the five best projects of the Hackathon.

The EU Commissioner of International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, commented: "Digitalisation for development is vital to the global fight against COVID-19. Team Europe joins forces with partner countries to transform innovative ideas into digital solutions. This #SmartDevelopmentHack, organised by BMZ with a strong European spirit and collaborative approach with partner countries, comes at the right moment to help us all in combatting the Coronavirus."

The project aims to jointly scale digital solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Many international actors and development cooperation projects are already relying on digital innovations and hackathon formats. This hackathon is therefore intended to build on existing digital solutions across countries and sectors, refine them in a targeted manner and promote digital innovations. The solutions will then be implemented quickly and purposefully in existing development cooperation projects. The initiative is supported by European development agencies from Member States (such as France, Belgium, Estonia and Luxemburg), European Tech-Companies (such as SAP, Vodafone and Orange), international institutions (such as Smart Africa, UNDP and AfDB) as well as start-up networks (such as Make-IT and i4policy).

All EU institutions and Member States must work together as a real “Team Europe” to provide an effective contribution to the global response. Therefore, the call is aimed at development cooperation partners in developing countries, the private sector and civil society, to assess current local needs and find new approaches to solving the problems. The projects should contribute significantly to contain the pandemic and its consequences and remain effective through innovation and technology. For this reason, the Call for Solutions started on the 20 April 2020, and accepts project proposals in all thematic areas. A jury will award the five best projects of the Hackathon, which will receive significant financial support and advice during the subsequent implementation.

In the context of the upcoming German Council Presidency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is carrying out this project on behalf of the EU Commission and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Further information is available at:


Publication date
22 April 2020
Directorate-General for International Partnerships