Last updated in March 2018
Politics and economy
Bilateral political relations have traditionally been good and friendly. Germany and El Salvador have been engaged in development cooperation for many years and many German businesspeople have contributed to El Salvador’s economic development. The two countries also work together in international and multilateral bodies. Germany is one of El Salvador’s most important European trading partners and one of the largest importers of the country’s coffee.
The German-El Salvadorian Chamber of Industry and Commerce currently has about 75 member companies. In August 1994, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce in the region set up the AHK Zentralamerika/ Karibik (ZAKK), which is responsible for all of Central America and the Caribbean. Its head office is in Guatemala.
A bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement was signed in December 1997 and entered into force on 15 April 2001.
Development cooperation between Germany and El Salvador dates back half a century. Since 2008, it has taken place mainly in the framework of regional cooperation with the Central American Integration System (SICA), whose General Secretariat is based in El Salvador, and through support provided to the Honduras-based Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). El Salvador remains an important partner not just for German development cooperation in Central America, but also when it comes to regional cooperation.
Cooperation focuses on the areas of environmental and climate protection, renewable energy and energy efficiency, economic development promotion as well as security and youth violence prevention. Bilateral cooperation also includes a project to support fiscal reform and a waste management project.
Ongoing projects directly agreed with El Salvador are worth a total of 257.6 million euros. Ongoing projects with SICA and CABEI are worth a total of 213.6 million euros and 550.1 million euros respectively.
The European Union – to whose development budget Germany contributes more than 20 percent – is one of the biggest donors in El Salvador and Central America. For the period 2014-2020, the EU estimates its funding for El Salvador at 149 million euros and for regional projects in Central America at 120 million euros.
The active cultural relations between the two countries are based on a bilateral cultural agreement. The Deutsche Schule San Salvador, a German school abroad with enhanced German instruction, is the key pillar of these relations. The school, which was founded in 1965 and has a current enrolment of approximately 1000 pupils, enjoys an outstanding reputation and is recognised as an Excellent German School Abroad. Since the school was authorised to hold Multilingual International Baccalaureate (GIB) examinations, well over half of the school leavers have gone on to study in Germany.
German as a foreign language plays only a limited role in El Salvador but the Goethe-Institut-funded language courses run by the association supporting the German school are well attended. The private language school Academia Europea also offers German courses.
The independent Foro Cultural Salvadoreño Alemán organises exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events in an honorary capacity, often with the support of the German Embassy and the Goethe-Institut. In addition, Germany regularly sponsors various cultural festivals in the country and supports cultural preservation projects to the extent possible.
Substantial funding is being provided to support the Orquesta Juvenil Centroamericana y del Caribe (OJCA). In parallel to this, the Compañía de Danza de Centroamérica y el Caribe (CODACA) was created in late 2013. Both projects are being conducted in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut as part of the Central American Educational and Cultural Coordination (CECC-SICA).
The top-class German music ensembles that perform in the country several times a year (mostly as part of CECC-SICA and with the support of the Foro Cultural Salvadoreño Alemán) and the master classes offered by them enjoy an excellent reputation among young musicians and with a wider interested public.
The country’s national symphony orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de El Salvador, was founded by a German conductor and boasts a wide repertoire of German music. It gives regular special concerts to mark the Day of German Unity and the anniversaries of German composers.
Another focus of cultural work is supporting and implementing the scholarship programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which has attracted considerable interest.
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.