Germany has long enjoyed close and friendly political relations with Jordan. In many areas, Germany is one of the most important partners of this country, which in 1994 was the second Arab state to conclude a peace treaty with Israel and is actively engaged, both within the region and internationally, in efforts to secure a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. Beyond the political arena, the two countries work together successfully in development cooperation as well as in the economic, scientific, academic and cultural sectors. In addition, Bundeswehr units have been stationed in Jordan since October 2017.
The numerous visits to Jordan by German politicians and the trips to Germany by Jordanian politicians testify to these close relations. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Foreign Minister Maas, Bundesrat President Müller and Federal Chancellor Merkel visited the country in 2018. In 2016, King Abdullah II received the Peace of Westphalia Prize from then Federal President Joachim Gauck; in March 2019, Federal Chancellor Merkel gave a speech in Assisi honouring the Jordanian King as he was awarded the Franciscan Lamp of Peace. In 2015, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel presented Queen Rania with the Walther Rathenau Prize in Berlin for her foreign policy engagement. Queen Rania presented Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Golden Victoria Award of the German Association of Magazine Publishers in November 2018.
Four of Germany’s political foundations have their own offices in Jordan: the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Two others – the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation – work in Jordan from their offices in the Palestinian territories.
Bilateral trade is the key element in economic relations between Germany and Jordan. Germany’s main exports to Jordan are mechanical engineering and automotive products, technical facilities, chemical and pharmaceutical products and food. In 2017, German exports to Jordan were worth approximately 747.6 million euros, and Jordanian exports to Germany about 27.4 million euros. In terms of imports, Germany is Jordan’s most important European trading partner, along with Italy.
There are good investment opportunities for German companies in the renewable energy, service, health care and tourism sectors as well as in green technologies (e.g. waste recycling), information technology and logistics. The German Water Partnership has selected Jordan as one of its focus countries. However, the volume of direct investment is at present still modest.
An investment protection and promotion agreement between Germany and Jordan has been in place since 2010.
2019 marks the 60th anniversary of German-Jordanian development cooperation. Germany is the country’s second-largest bilateral donor, behind the United States. German-Jordanian cooperation focuses on the water supply/waste water sector and on education and job creation. Jordan is one of the world’s poorest countries in terms of available water resources per capita. The large number of refugees in Jordan is currently putting additional pressure on the country’s already scarce resources and severely strained water infrastructure. Germany is actively engaged in efforts to bring about sustainable improvements in Jordan’s water sector and works to implement short-term measures to alleviate acute hardship, particularly in the border areas. The medium-term aim is to establish a water resource management system involving both the private sector and civil society.
In the area of education and job creation, German development cooperation focuses on improving economic participation and employment opportunities for both Jordanians and refugees. The aim is to extend options in the sphere of vocational training and align these more to the needs of the labour market. More is to be done on job placement and on improving the environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) in particular. In the field of education, Germany is working to ensure equal access (i.e. also for refugees), to make inclusion work better and improve the quality when it comes to building and maintaining schools. In 2018, the German Government’s new pledges of support for Jordan and funding provided for humanitarian assistance totalled approx. 513 million euros (291.8 million euros for development cooperation; 135.7 million euros for humanitarian assistance; 86 million euros for an untied loan).
Jordan also benefited from the option of debt swaps which transform debts into development projects, applicable in the areas of poverty reduction, environmental protection and education. The 11th and thus far last agreement of this kind – worth 27 million euros – was signed in September 2011. This funding was used for the German-Jordanian University and the construction of primary schools.
Academic and cultural relations
Here, Germany and Jordan are essentially cooperating in three fields: universities, archaeology and cultural/linguistic programmes run by the Goethe-Institut.
Jordanian universities and research institutions maintain a lively exchange with Germany. Many Jordanian scientists and academics studied or obtained their doctorates in Germany and conduct joint research projects with German colleagues. With the help of German scholarships or at their own expense, numerous Jordanian students, doctoral candidates and professors come to Germany every year for short or long-term stays.
Since 2012, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has operated an Information Centre in Amman, which is currently being transformed into a DAAD office.
The German-Jordanian University (GJU), which was launched in 2005, is Germany’s biggest university export project, with a focus on engineering subjects and business studies. This state university’s curricula and teaching programmes are modelled on those of German universities of applied sciences. Partnerships with an ever-expanding network of Jordanian and German companies shape teaching and research at GJU. In their fourth year, all GJU students spend a semester studying at one of the more than 120 German partner universities as well as completing a work experience stint in Germany.
Since its founding, GJU has evolved into one of the country’s leading universities. It also serves as a regional competence centre for training teachers of German. Since 2016, through the DAAD, Germany has provided a total of 90 additional university places for Syrian refugees and Jordanians.
The Federal Foreign Office also provides support to the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI), which in 2017 enabled 721 refugees in Jordan an opportunity to study at university.
In archaeology, Germany and Jordan have been cooperating closely for many decades. A branch of the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology of the Holy Land (DEIAHL), which is also a research unit of the DAI, coordinates joint excavations with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, especially in the north of the country (Jerash, Gadara, Tell Zira’a near Umm Qais and Tell Usher near Irbid).
The Federal Foreign Office (through its Cultural Preservation Programme), along with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), for several years supported structural analysis work on the ruins of the desert palace at Mshatta and the restoration of its important architectural features. The original south façade can be seen in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
As part of the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), German as a foreign language has been established at four schools in Jordan that are overseen by the Goethe-Institut. Since the 2016-2017 school year, pupils at one of these schools have been able to take German up to university entrance level.
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.