Last updated in March 2014
Since Jamaica gained independence in 1962, relations between Germany and Jamaica have been friendly and untroubled, though not particularly intensive. As Jamaica marked the 50th anniversary of its independence in 2012, Germany was one of only 11 countries to be also celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations with the country. Jamaica sees Germany as an important international partner and leading power within the European Union.
Previously very close bilateral development cooperation (worth a total of approximately EUR 255 million) was phased out in 2003, Jamaica having 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. With a share of around 20 per cent, Germany is the biggest contributor to the assistance Jamaica receives from the EU.
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 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 40.264 million (mainly motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products and machinery). This means that the dramatic slump in German imports in 2009 due to the global economic crisis is continuing, causing Jamaica’s balance of trade deficit to grow to EUR 20.739 million.
In 2013, 19,658 German tourists visited Jamaica, compared with 20,236 in 2012, 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 recognised by the Goethe Institute. It also provides support to the German Embassy in organising cultural events.
Jamaican candidates occasionally succeed in obtaining German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarships. There is keen interest in cooperation with German universities and universities of applied sciences.