Last updated in September 2013
Germany has maintained diplomatic relations with Morocco since it regained its independence in 1956. Political relations between the two countries are close, friendly and untroubled. The fact that both countries were non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 2012 enhanced the quality and intensity of cooperation in a multilateral context. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle co-chaired a climate dialogue meeting in New York together with his Moroccan counterpart. Westerwelle visited Morocco in November 2010 and May 2011. German Bundestag President Lammert visited Morocco in March 2013 and there are regular visits to Morocco by the Bundestag’s committees. In 2010, Federal Chancellor Merkel met with King Mohammed VI in New York. The Rabat Declaration, which is designed to strenghten cooperation between Germany and Morocco, entered into force on 12 September 2013 through an exchange of letters between Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle and his Moroccan counterpart.
There are more than 130,000 people of Moroccan descent living in Germany, many with both German and Moroccan citizenship. 22,000 children take part in the native language programme in Germany.
Economic relations development cooperation
In 2012, Germany ranked seventh among Morocco’s trading partners, behind France, Spain and the United States. Morocco ranked 65th among Germany’s international trading partners as a supplier of German imports (EUR 792 million) and 57th as a buyer of German exports (EUR 1.6 billion), Germany thus recording a balance of trade surplus amounting to EUR 820 million. These figures do not, however, properly reflect the volume of bilateral trade as a number of companies do business through their French branches, the transactions appearing in these branches’ accounts.
According to figures supplied by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Morocco, there are more than 120 companies with German capital interest in Morocco, mainly concentrated in the Casablanca area. Most of them are sales offices, some of which handle business with francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa via Morocco. Germany’s principal exports to Morocco are motor vehicles, machinery, electrical goods and chemical products. Future-relevant sectors are renewable energy, infrastructure/construction, environment (water, waste, recycling) and agriculture (Morocco being one of the principal imports of German breeding cattle).
A bilateral double taxation agreement has been in force since 1974 and an investment protection agreement since 2008.
Development cooperation is a cornerstone of German relations with Morocco. Germany is one of Morocco’s largest bilateral donors. As a partner country of Germany, Morocco is the second largest recipient of German funding in the Middle East and North Africa, after Egypt. Focussing on water management, the environment/climate change including renewable energy and sustainable economic development, German development cooperation with Morocco specifically targets the core areas of economic and social development.
Besides programme work, the main focus of German cultural activities in Morocco is on promoting the German language as well as scientific and academic cooperation. The Goethe Institute has branch offices in Casablanca and Rabat and two dialogue points for German, in Tangiers and Oujda. The Goethe Institute also looks after six PASCH schools.
There are German-Moroccan intercultural associations in Tangiers and Safi.
In higher education, there are more than 20 cooperation arrangements between German and Moroccan universities as well as a joint funding programme for bilateral research projects. Partnerships also exist between the German Research Foundation and Morocco’s National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and between the German Archaeological Institute and Morocco’s National Archaeological Research Centre (INSAP). There are German departments at the Universities of Fez, Rabat and Casablanca as well as at the King Fahd School of Translation in Tangiers. Two academic teachers seconded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) teach in Rabat and Fez and offer student counselling services.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation have offices in the Moroccan capital Rabat.