Last updated in December 2016
Germany is keen to see stable and democratic development in Pakistan and for the country to play a constructive role in the region.
To mitigate the effects of the flood disaster in Pakistan in late summer 2014, the Federal Government has made available a total of more than EUR 6 million. In 2015 and 2016, the total volume of federal budget funding for humanitarian aid projects in Pakistan exceeds EUR 11 million. The relief measures are implemented by German non-governmental organisations and international organisations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme.
In the 2015 calendar year, Germany’s bilateral trade with Pakistan stood at EUR 2.44 billion. German exports to Pakistan were worth EUR 1.02 billion and German imports from Pakistan EUR 1.43 billion. Pakistan’s principal exports to Germany are textiles, leather goods, sports goods, footwear and medical instruments. Pakistan’s main imports from Germany are chemical products, machinery, electrical goods, motor vehicles and iron goods.
The number of German companies operating in Pakistan has steadily increased in recent years. German businesses are showing growing interest in the Pakistani market, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors. In 2016, German and Pakistani companies with an interest in bilateral economic relations joined forces to create the German Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), which is based in Karachi and also has a branch office in Lahore. The GPCCI replaces its forerunners, the Pakistan Germany Business Forum and German Pakistan Trade and Invest. The GPCCI’s stated aim is to acquire the status of a bilateral chamber of commerce in the medium term. At present, it is a corporation according to Pakistani law under the umbrella of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In 2014, an organisation to promote bilateral economic relations was set up in Germany: GATE Pakistan. The visit to Germany by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2014 gave additional impetus to cooperation. There are regular mutual visits by delegations of entrepreneurs. In 2016, for example, the trip to Berlin and Munich by a delegation headed by the Sindh Board of Investment and the visit to Islamabad and Lahore by a German business delegation headed by State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Office Steinlein have boosted public interest here. The number of Pakistani companies participating in industrial fairs in Germany is constantly growing.
The following bilateral agreements are in place between Pakistan and Germany:
- air transport agreement
- double taxation accord
- investment promotion and protection agreement
- framework agreement on Technical and Financial Cooperation (as amended by the annual accords on Financial and Technical Cooperation)
- agreement on cooperation in scientific research and technological development
German-Pakistani development cooperation began in 1961. Since then, the Federal Government has funded projects worth more than EUR 2.5 billion. As agreed with the Pakistani government, bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:
- energy (with a focus on renewables and energy efficiency)
- good governance (in particular generating tax revenue and decentralisation)
- sustainable economic development (in particular vocational training)
With its Technical and Financial Cooperation measures, Germany is supporting the Pakistani government’s key reform projects, such as strengthening federalism and co-determination and improving production conditions in Pakistan’s industry, from energy supply to a well-trained workforce to the observance of sustainability standards). In addition, Germany provides assistance to both Afghan refugees in Pakistan and internally displaced Pakistanis who were forced to leave their homes temporarily as a result of the Pakistani army’s military offensives against the insurgency.
The geographical focus of German development cooperation with Pakistan is in the north and west of the country (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) and in the country’s most populous province Punjab, in eastern Pakistan. Individual measures are also being implemented in Baluchistan, Sindh, Gilgit Baltistan and AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir).
Cooperation with Pakistan includes a host of projects that are co-financed with other donors, mainly EU institutions, France and Switzerland. The pooling of financial resources by a number of countries makes it possible to implement larger and more comprehensive measures, thus increasing their effectiveness. Together with the Pakistani government, Germany is also engaged in a variety of multilateral funding instruments such as the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and a support programme for Afghan refugees and their host communities through the UNHCR.
The Federal Foreign Office is also funding project activities in Pakistan. These include measures in the following areas: human rights, the rule of law, civil society and the media, for example a project to strengthen the police and public prosecution services in Punjab and Sindh Provinces. The measures are being implemented in cooperation with local organisations as well as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the KfW Development Bank.
Culture and education
Well-established and effective academic and scientific exchange has for many years featured prominently in cultural relations between Germany and Pakistan.
Scholarship programmes, Germany as a study destination, academic cooperation
The main institutions active in this field are the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on the German side, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the Pakistani side. In addition, there are exchanges between specific departments of several German and Pakistani universities (with a focus on engineering and natural sciences as well as social sciences). The DAAD opened an Information Centre in Islamabad in September 2009. Germany is one of the most popular destinations for young Pakistani researchers wishing to pursue a PhD, along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In 2015, there were a total of 3,655 Pakistani students in Germany, 666 of whom (including doctoral students and researchers) received DAAD funding.
As part of the Federal Foreign Office’s global Schools – Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), German language instruction has been gradually introduced at several secondary schools in Pakistan. There are seven PASCH schools in Pakistan – in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Peshawar – and a total of some 2,500 students learning German at these schools (out of a total of 6,700 German learners). Under the initiative, in recent years students from several PASCH schools were invited to attend international summer camps in Germany organised by the Goethe Institute.
German archaeologists have been active in Pakistan for decades. Since 1979, for example, the project Rock Carvings and Inscriptions along the Karakorum Highway has been conducted with the support of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. German researchers regularly travel to Gilgit Baltistan as part of this project.
Cultural preservation projects
For a number of years, the Federal Foreign Office has been funding cultural preservation projects in Pakistan. The principal projects in recent years include the restoration of a historical mosque complex in Gulabpur, Baltistan. In 2010 and 2011, the Federal Foreign Office provided funding to renovate and restore traditional residential buildings in Lahore’s historical Old City in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation. The two projects won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2010 and 2014, respectively. The restoration of part of the Lahore Fort frescoes is planned for 2017, also in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation.
The main institution promoting bilateral cultural relations is the Goethe Institute in Karachi. In the building housing the Goethe Institute, which is from the Bauhaus era and classified as an historical monument, numerous cultural events are held in addition to the language courses. Another institution active in cultural cooperation is the Goethe Institute-affiliated Annemarie Schimmel House in Lahore, which also offers language courses and a cultural programme.
There has long been close cooperation in training between German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC). Deutsche Welle has its own office in Islamabad.
Activities of German political foundations
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation have all seconded staff to Pakistan and run their own offices there, and in some cases have done so for decades. They support projects in areas including the strengthening of democratic institutions, human rights and the advancement of women, climate change, deradicalisation, regional cooperation and the media.