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 Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Jordan in June 2018, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Bundesrat President Michael Müller in April that year. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen visited the country in January 2018. At the VDZ Publishers’ Night in Berlin in November 2018, Queen Rania presented Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Golden Victoria Award, calling her a “bridge-builder”. In Münster in October 2016, King Abdullah II received the Peace of Westphalia Prize from then Federal President Joachim Gauck. In September 2015, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel presented Queen Rania with the Walther Rathenau Prize in Berlin for her foreign policy engagement.
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.
Economic relations and development cooperation
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, compared with Jordanian exports to Germany amounting to only 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 August 2010.
Development cooperation plays a major role in German-Jordanian relations. Germany is the country’s second-largest bilateral donor, behind the United States. Bilateral cooperation focuses on the water supply/waste water sector and on education and job creation efforts. 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. Besides implementing short-term measures to alleviate acute hardship, particularly in the border areas, Germany is actively engaged in efforts to bring about sustainable improvements in Jordan’s water sector. The medium-term aim is to establish an integrated 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. Measures are being implemented in vocational training (expanding and improving what’s on offer, in line with the needs of the labour market), in job placement and in improving the environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) in particular, for example through improved services (advisory services, access to financial services, enhancing the potential for trading Jordanian products). In the field of education, development cooperation aims to ensure equal access (i.e. also for refugees) and improved quality (construction of schools, rehabilitation and maintenance, inclusion). 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 for 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 exchange
Cultural relations between Germany and Jordan are founded essentially on three main elements: academic cooperation, archaeological cooperation and bilateral cultural and language programmes conducted by the Goethe-Institut in Amman.
Jordanian universities and research institutions maintain a lively exchange with Germany in a wide variety of areas. 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 the first point of contact for all issues relating to German universities and studying in Germany. It also manages a range of scholarship programmes.
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. Since 2005, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences has been GJU’s leading project partner in the DAAD programme German Higher Education Projects Abroad. In their fourth year, all GJU students spend a semester studying at one of the more than 100 German partner universities as well as completing a compulsory work experience stint in Germany.
Since its founding, GJU has evolved into one of the country’s leading universities. At its campus in Mushaqar near Madaba, there are 4400 students studying in nine faculties and a total of 31 courses. GJU also serves as a regional competence centre for training teachers of German (Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in German as a Foreign Language), also targeting prospective students from the entire Middle East and North Africa region. Since 2016, through the DAAD, Germany has provided a total of 90 additional university places for two cohorts of Syrian refugees and Jordanians, including 30 scholarships for the Master’s programme in Conservation Studies, Cultural Heritage and Built Environment, which is being offered as part of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) project “Stunde Null: A Future for the Time after the Crisis”.
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 had close cooperative relations based on mutual trust 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. The Goethe-Institut in Amman runs a varied programme of theatre, music and exhibitions, which targets a young audience with an interest in Germany. There is great demand for the Goethe-Institut’s language courses. 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.