Last updated in October 2017
Relations between Germany and Bahrain are good. Despite its critical assessment of the domestic situation in Bahrain, Germany is highly regarded in the country. High points in bilateral relations have so far been King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s official visit to Berlin in late October 2008 and the return visit to Bahrain by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2010, as well as the visit to Bahrain in April 2010 by the then President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert. In November 2011, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, held talks in Berlin that focused on the country’s internal political situation and included an appraisal of the violent clashes that occurred there. Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid was in Berlin for political consultations in October 2014 and attended the Munich Security Conference in February 2015.
Bilateral cooperation focuses on promoting the rule of law and parliamentary exchange. German Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth held talks in Bahrain in March 2014. In early June 2015, the Chairman of the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee of Bahrain’s elected chamber of Parliament, the Council of Representatives, attended the Fourth International Conference of Parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs in Berlin at the invitation of the German Bundestag and the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ).
Germany enjoys a good reputation in Bahrain as a reliable trading partner, though there is still room for improvement in bilateral trade compared with Bahrain’s regional neighbours. The volume of bilateral trade between Bahrain and Germany totalled approximately 369.6 million euros in 2016, marking a slight decline from previous years.
Germany’s positive image in the country is largely founded on its highly competitive industrial and technology sectors, in which Bahrain shows a keen interest. On the German side, small and medium-sized companies in particular are taking advantage of the good investment climate in Bahrain. At present, more than 50 German companies have offices in Bahrain or are engaged in projects in the country. A delegation from the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy, headed by former Federal Minister Peter Ramsauer, last visited Bahrain in early 2017. In early April 2016 a cross-sectoral business delegation from the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association (EMA), headed by former Federal President Christian Wulff, visited Bahrain. The Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, and the new Chief Executive of the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB), Khalid Al Rumaihi, visited Germany in early 2015. There are approximately 500 German nationals living in Bahrain.
An investment promotion and protection agreement was signed in February 2007 and entered into force in late May 2010.
In the cultural sector, the regional offices of the Goethe-Institut (GI) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), both located in the United Arab Emirates, have been responsible for Bahrain since 2006. The German Embassy in Bahrain is stepping up its efforts to intensify cooperation in the areas of culture, education and science policy. Since 2009, it has also organised language courses that prepare students for GI examinations. In addition, the publicly funded University of Bahrain is offering German instruction based on an agreement with Leipzig University. In 2013, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain co-founded the first bilateral Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA), with a view to promoting collaboration between excellent young Arab and German scientists and scholars as well as interdisciplinary research projects. In May 2014, the German Embassy presented around 300 books, some of them Arabic translations, to the Bahrain National Library. For language and cultural reasons, Anglo-American countries are Bahraini students’ preferred foreign study destinations. That makes existing academic contacts with Germany, for example in the renewable energy sector, all the more valuable.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.