Last updated in March 2013
Since Jamaica gained independence in 1962, relations between Germany and Jamaica have been friendly and untroubled, though not particularly intensive. As Jamaica marks the 50th anniversary of its independence in 2012, Germany is one of only 11 countries to be also celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations with the country.
Previously very close bilateral development cooperation (worth a total of approximately EUR 255 million) was phased out in 2003, Jamaica having since become a middle-income country in terms of per capita earnings. Jamaica, however, remains a partner of Germany’s substantial regional development cooperation. The EU is the country’s largest international donor of subsidies.
Germany provided emergency humanitarian aid following the destruction caused by Hurricane Dean in August 2007, Tropical Storm Nicole in late September 2010 and Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
According to provisional Federal Statistical Office figures, in 2012 German imports from Jamaica were worth just EUR 19.525 million (mainly aluminium oxide/bauxite). German exports to Jamaica were worth EUR 40.167 million (mainly motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products and machinery). This means that the dramatic slump in German imports in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis is continuing, causing the balance of trade deficit to grow to EUR 20.62 million.
Condor operates weekly flights to the tourist destination Montego Bay, from Düsseldorf and Frankfurt/Main. Air Berlin (LTU) does not at present offer flights to Jamaica. In 2012, 20,236 German tourists visited Jamaica, 1.5 per cent more than in the previous year, Germany thus remaining in fourth place as a country of origin.
German direct investments are negligible, though there is German participation in the Spanish hotel group RIU, which is investing heavily in Jamaica.
The German-Jamaican investment promotion and protection agreement, which entered into force on 29 May 1996, has so far failed to attain any real practical significance.
With financial support from the Federal Foreign Office, the Jamaican-German Society, which was founded in 1966, offers German language courses leading to a diploma recognized by the Goethe Institute. It also provides support to the German Embassy in organizing cultural events.
Some Jamaican candidates succeed in obtaining scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. There is keen interest in cooperation with German universities and universities of applied sciences.