Since Jamaica gained independence in 1962, German-Jamaican relations have been friendly and untroubled. Jamaica sees Germany as an important international partner and as one of the most influential member states of the European Union.
Bilateral development cooperation ended in 2003 when Jamaica became a middle-income country. Jamaica’s inclusion in regional development projects is due to end in 2020. However, it will continue to receive funding for regional projects under the International Climate Initiative run by the Federal Environment Ministry and will remain a partner of Germany’s multilateral development cooperation. Jamaica’s largest international donor is the EU, which is financed by the member states. With a share of around 20%, Germany is the biggest contributor.
Jamaican exports to Germany – primarily bauxite/alumina and drinks – were worth 170 million euros in 2019. Imports from Germany – mainly machinery, cars and car parts – amounted to 63 million euros.
In 2018, just under 34,000 Germans visited Jamaica (excluding cruise passengers). This puts Germany in fourth place after the United States (1.6 million), Canada (400,000) and the UK (215,000).
There are hardly any larger German direct investments in Jamaica. However, German companies have indirect shares in hotel projects. In 2017, a German investment fund, along with the local electricity supplier, invested in the largest solar project in the Caribbean (37 MW) in Jamaica. The plant was opened on 2 October 2019. A German-Jamaican consortium intends to start constructing a dry dock in Kingston in 2020.
The German-Jamaican Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement entered into force on 29 May 1996.
With financial support from the Federal Foreign Office, the Jamaican-German Society, which was founded in 1966, offers German language courses leading to diplomas recognised by the Goethe-Institut. German is not taught at schools or universities in Jamaica.
Jamaican undergraduates and postgraduates study at German universities on German Academic Exchange Service and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarships. In view of the increasing number of degrees taught in English in Germany, interest in such courses has risen noticeably in Jamaica.