Last updated in October 2018
Azerbaijan regards Germany as one of its most important partners in Western Europe. On 25 August, Federal Chancellor Merkel paid her first visit to Baku, meeting with President Aliyev for talks. Then Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Baku most recently on 30 June 2016 as part of his trip to the South Caucasus in his capacity as OSCE chair. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has visited Germany a number of times, most recently in June 2016. He also attended the Munich Security Conference in 2017. Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov attended the Conference in 2018.
Since 1994, Azerbaijan’s Government has exploited the large deposits of oil and natural gas under the Caspian Sea in partnership with Western companies. Azerbaijan’s economic boom – due to large-scale investment projects and the revenue from oil production – is also reflected in its economic relations with Germany. Azerbaijan is Germany’s principal economic partner in the Caucasus. The founding in autumn 2012 of the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce placed bilateral economic relations on a firm institutional footing. In 2017, Germany imported ca. 2.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Azerbaijan (rank 8 of our crude oil suppliers, 5% of total imports).
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the volume of trade stood at 1002.9 million euros in 2017. When it comes to exports, worth 351.9 million euros in 2017, the key products are machinery, motor vehicles and components, iron and steel products as well as production facilities. Germany ranks sixth amongst the countries exporting goods to Azerbaijan. A number of German energy companies have a long-term interest in oil and gas exploration and production there. A joint venture between Uniper (E.ON) and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company SOCAR has been in existence since May 2015.
German development cooperation with Azerbaijan includes developing the private business sector outside the oil and gas industry. Commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the diversification of the country’s economy by advising Azerbaijan’s Government on how to improve the regulatory environment, build a needs-oriented vocational training system and strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism and agriculture sectors. Another major project is developing a loan system by implementing a series of Financial and Technical Cooperation measures. Other important fields include supporting good local governance and municipal development as well as preserving biodiversity. Since Azerbaijan gained independence, German development cooperation has provided a total of more than 600 million euros to help develop the country (mainly in the form of loans as part of Financial Cooperation).
Culture and education
Cultural relations between the two countries date back to the early 19th century. In western Azerbaijan (Goygol, Shemkir), numerous historic buildings, including churches, are a reminder that Swabian immigrants settled there from 1818/19 onwards. To mark the 200th anniversary of the German settlement, the Embassy organised various projects through the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme including a publication on the traces of German architecture in Azerbaijan.
Germany enjoys a positive image in Azerbaijan. A bilateral cultural agreement has been in place since 1995. In 2008, Azerbaijan held its first cultural year abroad, Germany being chosen to host the event. The building of an Azerbaijan Cultural Centre in Berlin is to further bolster cultural exchange. A cornerstone of cultural relations is the German-Azerbaijani Cultural Association, which runs the Kapellhaus (Chapel House) encounter centre in Baku, in what was once the music room of the adjacent Protestant church. The historical building, restored with the help of donations, hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year. A Goethe-Zentrum opened in Baku in December 2017 and is making a major contribution to cultural exchange between the two countries.
German is the third most important foreign language, after Russian and English, and is taught at numerous schools and several universities. Four schools in Baku, which form part of the Schools: Partners for the Future network (PASCH), offer German instruction with support from the Goethe-Institut and/or the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA). The language work of the Goethe-Institut in Tbilisi is conducted by the Language Learning Centre acting as a cooperation partner.
Each year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awards a large number of scholarships and works to promote academic exchange. In the academic year 2017/18 alone, a total of 82 Azerbaijani students received DAAD scholarships. Around a thousand young Azerbaijani students are enrolled at German universities. There are 23 university partnerships between universities and academic institutions in the two countries. A DAAD lector is helping to improve the quality of German teaching in Azerbaijan and there is a DAAD Information Centre at the Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University.
Town twinning arrangements exist between Sumgait and Ludwigshafen and between Baku and Mainz.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is updated regularly. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its Contents.