Last updated in October 2017
The Dominican Republic and Germany enjoy good bilateral relations, with tourism and development cooperation playing a key role. There are some 12,000 Germans living in the country, most of whom have settled either on the north coast (in Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Sosúa) or in the capital Santo Domingo.
A bilateral friendship, trade and shipping agreement has been in place since as early as 1957. Economic relations between Germany and the Dominican Republic have intensified more since the beginning of the country’s economic upswing in the late 1990s. Germany is one of the Dominican Republic’s most important European markets for organic products (bananas, cocoa and coffee), and a German firm specialising in eco-standards has set up business in the country to monitor product quality. Germany’s main exports to the Dominican Republic are vehicles and vehicle parts, machinery and chemical products.
The Dominican Government is keen to strengthen economic relations with Germany. For example, there is a particular need for German medical technology products as well as energy and mining technology. There are some 60 German companies operating in the Dominican Republic. The German-Dominican Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been established since 1994. As a member of both the German Regional Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Central America and the Caribbean and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic, it supports the stepping up of exchange between German and Dominican companies.
As a member of Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), which comprises 15 countries in the region, the Dominican Republic is a co-signatory of the 2008 Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. The EPA provides for trade facilitation and development assistance for countries in the Caribbean region.
Despite its own successful efforts, the Dominican Republic still needs international support to improve development indicators. According to World Bank figures for 2015, more than 35 percent of Dominicans live below the poverty line, and nearly six percent in extreme poverty.
German support focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and climate protection. Germany has provided a total of more than 230 million euros in development assistance since cooperation began, making Germany one of the country’s principal bilateral donors alongside Spain, Canada and the United States. However, the Dominican Republic is no longer an official partner country of German development cooperation. Nonetheless, a financial cooperation programme on energy efficiency is being implemented. This programme is in line with Germany’s overall development cooperation strategy and aims to expand climate-friendly energy production and help increase energy efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean. In future, cooperation will shift its focus to regional programmes but projects that seek to improve climate protection will be retained.
In addition, Germany contributes over 20 percent of EU development assistance. The European Union is the Dominican Republic’s largest donor, ahead of the United States, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Culture and education
Interest in Germany, the German language and Germany’s cultural presence in the Dominican Republic has increased markedly, not least due to the growing number of German tourists visiting the country. In addition, Germany is seen as a key nation not only in terms of business and technology, but also in the domains of culture and sport.
Seven of the country’s 32 universities have concluded partnerships with German higher education institutions, offering students and lecturers evolving exchange opportunities. Since 2010, Trier University has placed a special focus on the Dominican Republic through its America Romana Centrum and interdisciplinary research into “Dominicanidad”.
Since as early as 1957, the German Embassy has offered language courses, which in recent years were attended on average by more than 1000 Dominicans annually. There are plans to continue the language courses launched in 2013, which are specifically designed for Dominican Higher Education Ministry scholarship holders wishing to prepare for postgraduate studies in Germany. The Dominican-German alumni association (Asociación Dominicana de Egresados de Alemania, ADEA) offers a networking forum for Dominicans with an interest in Germany.
In 2001, the Dominican Government ceded a house in the old colonial quarter of Santo Domingo to the Asociación Cultural Dominico-Alemana (ACUDA). The house, which is designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, was restored with funding from the German Government and ACUDA and donations from German companies. It is now home to the Centro Domínico-Alemán cultural centre and the German-Dominican Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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