Last updated in January 2017
Germany and Kenya have a tradition of close partnership based on wide-ranging relations in the political, economic and cultural spheres. Germany was the first country to officially recognise Kenya after it gained independence in 1963. Kenya’s regional political clout makes it an important partner in a crisis-ridden region (Somalia, South Sudan, Great Lakes). Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Kenya in February 2015 and Federal Development Minister Müller was there in March 2016. Kenyan President Kenyatta paid a visit to Berlin in April 2016. Kenya is one of the principal partner countries of German development cooperation. German media and most of Germany’s political foundations maintain regional offices in Nairobi.
Economic relations and development cooperation
Over the past few years, Germany’s economic interest in Kenya has grown, with more German companies setting up business there. In 2014, German imports from Kenya amounted to EUR 143 million, compared with EUR 114 million in 2013. German exports to Kenya were worth EUR 316.9 million in 2014, compared with EUR 299 million in 2013.
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 (GBA) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Messe Frankfurt opened a regional office in Nairobi in 2011. Besides the GBA, a Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) Delegate and a GTAI Correspondent have been active in Kenya since March 2012. After a 16-year interruption, Lufthansa resumed flights to Nairobi in October 2015.
Kenya is an important partner of German development cooperation (DC). For the period 2017-2018, Germany pledged DC worth up to EUR 252.35 million. Priority areas of bilateral development cooperation are agriculture, health care, water (up to 2020) and sustainable economic development/youth employment (from 2017). In addition, Germany has long-term and financially significant commitments in the areas of good governance and energy. Besides the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, other federal ministries, in particular the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, are engaged in projects in Kenya.
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, with 58 such schools now offering it as a subject.
The Goethe Institute in Nairobi, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, is engaged in promoting the German language and culture in Kenya. The regional office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Nairobi has been active there for more than 40 years. It promotes academic exchange between Kenya and Germany. The DAAD runs a large number of programmes, awarding scholarships to especially gifted Kenyan students that enable them to study in both Germany and Kenya. The DAAD is also active in the area of university management and brokers contacts between German and Kenyan educational institutions. In addition, the DAAD awarded 300 sur place scholarships to students at Garissa University College, which was attacked by the Al-Shabaab militia on 2 April 2015, resulting in more than 140 deaths.
With some 300 students and kindergarten children, the German School Nairobi is a German School Abroad leading to the German university-entrance qualification (Abitur). Along with a scholarship programme for Kenyans, the German School has extended bilingual instruction and introduced the German International Abitur Examination (DIAP) as a school-leaving qualification, with a view to making the school more attractive to Kenyans and members of the international community.