Last updated in March 2019
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 70 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, security, (re-)integration of children and young people at risk of absconding and youth violence prevention.
Projects directly agreed with El Salvador are worth a total of 257.6 million euros. Agreement has also been reached on projects with SICA and CABEI worth more than 230 million euros and more than 690 million euros respectively.
Numerous small projects from the sphere of “classic” development cooperation are also promoted in El Salvador (for example, improving access to drinking water, infrastructure work in clinics, schools).
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.
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. The school is authorised to hold Multilingual International Baccalaureate (GIB) examinations.
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 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 where possible.
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.
Another focus of cultural work is supporting and implementing the scholarhip 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.