Last updated in June 2014
Germany has maintained diplomatic relations with Morocco since it regained its independence in 1956. Relations have traditionally been close, friendly and untroubled. Federal Chancellor Merkel met with King Mohammed VI in 2010. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Morocco in 2011 and 2012 and German Bundestag President Lammert was there in March 2013. German Bundestag and German regional parliament delegations make regular visits to Morocco. The fact that Germany and Morocco were both non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 2012 enhanced the quality and intensity of cooperation in a multilateral context. In September 2013, two countries’ foreign ministries put into effect the Rabat Declaration. This document pays tribute to bilateral relations in the political, economic and cultural spheres as well as in development cooperation and designates areas in which Germany and Morocco are seeking to cooperate even more closely, e.g. environmental protection, energy, science and research. In addition to regular consultations, the German offer of further partnership projects on democracy and civil society, human rights and responsible governance, the Rabat Declaration also provides for closer political dialogue between the two countries.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation have their own offices in Rabat and the Heinrich Böll Foundation recently opened an office there.
There are more than 130,000 people of Moroccan descent living in Germany.
In 2013, Germany ranked seventh among Morocco’s trading partners, behind France, Spain, the United States and China. During the period January-October 2013, Morocco ranked 63rd among Germany’s international trading partners as a supplier of German imports (EUR 792 million) and 58th as a buyer of German exports (EUR 1.374 billion), Germany thus recording a balance of trade surplus of EUR 645 million. These figures do not, however, properly reflect the volume of bilateral trade as a number of companies do business through their French branches.
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 from Morocco. Germany’s principal exports to Morocco are motor vehicles, machinery, electrical goods and chemical products. New opportunities are opening up in the following sectors: the automotive supply industry, infrastructure/construction, building technology, environment (water, waste, recycling) and agriculture (Morocco being one of the principal importers of German breeding cattle).
The German-Moroccan Joint Economic Commission, which was set up in 2012, is seeking to further stimulate economic exchange between the two countries and place it on a broader footing.
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. For 2012 and 2013, Germany has pledged Morocco a total of EUR 771.5 million, mainly in the form of loans. At the 2014 intergovernmental negotiations, Germany intends to make further commitments. With its focus on water management, the environment/climate change (including renewable energy) and sustainable economic development, German development cooperation with Morocco is active in core areas of economic and social development.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides further information on its website:
external link, opens in new windowwww.bmz.de
Besides programme work, German cultural activities in Morocco focus on promoting the German language and scientific and academic cooperation. The Goethe Institute has branch offices in Casablanca and Rabat and two German dialogue points, in Tangiers and Oujda. The Goethe Institute also looks after five PASCH schools.
There are German-Moroccan intercultural associations in Tangiers and Safi.
In higher education, there are more than 20 partnerships 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 advice services. The DAAD staff working in Morocco also includes a language lecturer and a Herder Programme guest lecturer.
The Federal Foreign Office also funds cultural preservation measures in Morocco. For example, funding was provided under the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme to renovate the Slat al Fassiyin synagoge in Fez. The newly renovated synagogue was opened in spring 2013 at a ceremony attended by German Bundestag President Lammert and Moroccan Prime Minister Benkirane, who read a message of greeting from King Mohammed VI to the numerous guests present at the event.