Since Jamaica gained independence in 1962, relations between it and Germany 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. However, Jamaica remains a partner of Germany’s regional and multilateral development cooperation. It also receives funding via regional projects in the International Climate Initiative run by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Its largest international donor is the EU, whose budget is financed by the member states. With a share of around 20 percent, Germany is the biggest contributor.
Jamaican exports to Germany – primarily bauxite and drinks – were worth 114.8 million euros in 2018. For its part, Jamaica imported goods from Germany – mainly machinery, cars and car parts – worth 99.6 million euros in 2018. (Source: DESTATIS).
In 2017, just under 30,000 Germans visited Jamaica, thus putting Germany in fourth place, albeit with a significantly lower number of visitors, after the US (1.5 million), Canada (405,000) and the UK (212,000) (source: Jamaica Tourist Board).
There are hardly any larger German direct investments in Jamaica. However, German companies have indirect shares in hotel projects involving substantial investments. In 2017, a German investment fund, along with the local electricity supplier, invested in the largest solar project in the Caribbean to date (37 MW) in Jamaica. The plant was inaugurated on 2 October 2019. A German-Jamaican consortium intends to start constructing a dry dock in Kingston in early 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 a diploma 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 at German universities, interest in studying in Germany has risen noticeably in Jamaica.