Last updated in June 2014
Diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Honduras were established on 20 January 1960. The emergency relief and reconstruction assistance provided by the German Federal Government and private German donors in the aftermath of the 1998 Hurricane Mitch disaster and Germany’s ongoing bilateral, regional and multilateral development cooperation are greatly appreciated by Honduras.
The most recent visit to Germany by a Honduran President was that of Ricardo Maduro Joest (2002-2006), who was in Berlin and Bonn in October 2002 for political talks and to attend the Ibero-American Day along with other Central American heads of state.
In 2006, talks took place in Vienna between Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the Honduran Foreign Minister Jiménez Puerto on the sidelines of the EU/LAC Summit of European Union, Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State and Government.
The 28 June 2009 coup against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales and the violation of regime opponents’ human rights forced the Federal Government – along with the governments of the other EU countries – to make a clear response: development aid and all contacts with the Micheletti regime were suspended. The EU countries with embassies in Tegucigalpa withdrew their ambassadors or stopped their new ambassadors from taking up their posts.
The EU countries, including Germany, responded to the inauguration of the elected President Porfirio Lobo Sosa in late January 2010 and his pledge to restore democracy in the country, pursue reconciliation between the opposing sides and establish a government of national unity by gradually normalising relations again from the end of February 2010.
Trade between Honduras and Germany is relatively insignificant and subject to strong fluctuations. According to Federal Statistical Office (DESTATIS) figures, in 2012 German imports from Honduras were worth EUR 448.4 million and German exports to Honduras EUR 136.8 million.
Honduras ranked only 112th among suppliers of German imports in 2012, but took 80th place among buyers of German exports.
The main Honduran exports to Germany are coffee (which is also supplied to neighbouring EU countries via Hamburg), fish and citrus fruits. Bananas, tobacco and timber are of less significance as exports to Germany. The principal German exports to Honduras are plant, machinery and electrical goods, chemical and plastic products, engines and motor vehicles, iron goods and sheet metal.
An investment protection and promotion agreement between the two countries, which entered into force on 27 May 1998, has so far resulted in few German direct investments A German commercial bank specialising in small development-related loans has set up branches in Honduras. A more sizable investment is a German-Honduran joint venture (coffee roasting facility). A number of German companies plan to make major investments in the country’s energy and service sectors. The German-Honduran Chamber of Commerce and Industry is based in Tegucigalpa.
Honduras is an important partner country of German development cooperation. Since cooperation began in 1961, Germany has made available some EUR 460 million for development projects and programmes in Honduras, making it one of the country’s largest bilateral donors along with the United States, Spain, Japan and Canada. No other EU member state, apart from Spain, had provided more funding to Honduras.
In addition, Germany accounts for around 20 per cent of the European Union’s development cooperation with Honduras, as well as contributing its share to the funding provided by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank and under United Nations programmes. The EU Commission’s current programme (2007-2013), worth EUR 233 million, focuses on poverty reduction, security and the environment. Another programme of a similar size is in preparation for the period 2014-2020. The Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank are the country’s biggest multilateral donors, providing some EUR 100 million and EUR 50 million, respectively, each year.
Honduras receives assistance from more than 30 donor countries. The country’s principal bi- and multilateral partners (together accounting for some 97 per cent of total funding) coordinate their programmes in the framework of the so-called Group of 16 (G 16). Along with these classical donors, the following countries are particularly engaged in Honduras: South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile. The People’s Republic of China is also active there but does not provide concessionary funding.
German development cooperation with Honduras focuses on two priority areas: education and environmental policy (including the sustainable use of natural resources and climate protection). In these areas in particular, Germany is seen as an acknowledged and influential partner.
In line with the country’s needs, there are additional projects to promote Honduras’ economic and financial sectors, reduce poverty, foster citizen participation and governance. The Federal Government also provides assistance to Honduras through regional projects in a variety of areas. Important regional partners are the Honduras-based Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the three-country Trifinio Commission. The regional projects also address the problem of youth violence prevention, which is key to Honduras’ future development.
At the most recent intergovernmental negotiations in January 2011, Germany pledged a total of EUR 47 million for Financial and Technical Cooperation measures. A further EUR 11 million was made available in 2013. The next intergovernmental negotiations are scheduled for 2014.
Germany’s portfolio of ongoing projects and programmes is worth approximately EUR 124 million. On top of this, Germany provides EUR 26 million through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) third-party funding or EU co-financing. There are 25 seconded German development cooperation experts working in Honduras as well as some 75 local staff.
In addition, a number of German non-governmental development organisations are active in Honduras, such as churches, foundations and associations.