Last updated in July 2013
Germany and Kenya have a tradition of close partnership based on wide-ranging relations in the political, economic and cultural sectors. Germany was the first country to officially recognize Kenya after it gained independence in 1963. Kenya’s regional political clout makes it an important partner in a crisis-ridden region (Somalia, Southern Sudan, Great Lakes). Kenya is a priority country of German development cooperation and all major German development cooperation organizations are active there. The German media and most of Germany’s political foundations maintain regional offices in Nairobi. Besides the Embassy in Nairobi, Germany also has an honorary consul in the large coastal city and seaport of Mombasa.
In 2013, economic growth of around 4.1 per cent is expected, compared with 4.4 per cent in 2012. Despite the tense security situation along the border with Somalia, the tourism sector is constantly growing. The hotels in Nairobi are also benefiting from the influx of businesspeople and oil workers, with the result that more luxury accommodations are in the pipeline.
Over the past few years, Germany’s economic interest in Kenya has increased slightly, with more German companies setting up business there. In 2012, German imports from Kenya amounted to EUR 113.4 million, compared with EUR 127.7 million in 2011. German exports to Kenya were worth EUR 302.1 million in 2012, compared with EUR 247.6 million in 2011. Germany’s principal exports to Kenya are solar and wind technology, machinery, chemical and pharmaceutical products and motor vehicles. Germany’s main imports from Kenya are cut flowers, tea, coffee and vegetables.
Germany and Kenya signed a double taxation agreement in 1979 and an investment protection agreement in 2000. In November 2012, the German Business Association celebrated its 25th anniversary. The trade fair organizer Messe Frankfurt opened a regional office in Nairobi in 2011. Besides the German Business Association, there has been a Representative of German Industry and Trade in Kenya since March 2012.
Cultural relations between Germany and Kenya focus on academic and scientific cooperation, scholarships and the promotion of sport. German has been taught at Kenyan secondary schools since January 1988, German instruction now being offered at 58 secondary schools in Kenya. The Goethe Institute in Nairobi, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2003, is engaged in promoting German language and culture in Kenya, its work being highly regarded by its Kenyan partners. The German Embassy’s language courses in Mombasa meet the local demand for qualified instruction in German, which is particularly keen owing to tourism on the coast. The regional office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Nairobi supports educational stays by Kenyans through various programmes, primarily funding postgraduate studies. The DAAD arranges for some 80 students and postgraduates to travel to Germany each year.
With some 170 students and integrated boarding facilities, the German School in Nairobi provides German instruction leading to the German university-entrance qualification (Abitur). Along with a scholarship programme for Kenyans, the German School extended bilingual instruction in 2007/2008 and introduced the German International Abitur Examination (DIAP) in the 2011/2012 school year as a school-leaving qualification, with a view to making the school more attractive to Kenyans and members of the international community. The school is currently considering introducing the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a further school-leaving qualification. The school, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in Nairobi in October 2009, is also an important service provider to German-speaking experts, business representatives and embassy staff across East Africa. In March 2010, the school also opened a Resource Centre that is designed to serve as a cultural exchange centre for training German teachers and students from the East African region.