The Federal Republic of Germany and Cambodia have had diplomatic relations since 1967, although these relations were interrupted between 1969 and 1993. Various events were held in late 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Germany’s representation at Cambodia’s Supreme National Council (SNC), which was established in 1992, was converted into a diplomatic mission after the 1993 elections and the restoration of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Cambodia and the German Democratic Republic maintained diplomatic relations from 1969 to 1975 and from 1979 until the reunification of the two German states.
Germany actively supports Cambodia’s development and democratisation process. The cornerstone of relations is the extensive development cooperation between the two countries. In addition, Germany has been funding a mine‑clearance programme, helping with conservation efforts at the Angkor Wat temple complex and supporting the work of the Khmer Rouge War Crimes Tribunal for many years.
In 2017, German imports from Cambodia (mainly clothing and footwear) totalled approximately 1,544.6 billion euros. Well‑known German buyers of Cambodian textiles and shoes are Adidas, Puma, Deichmann, C&A, Aldi, Lidl and Tchibo. The value of the imported goods thus increased by around 13.8 percent over the previous year. German exports to Cambodia were, at 253.7 million euros, modest in comparison, although this represented a substantial increase of around 69.1 percent. Among Germany’s 239 trading partners, Cambodia ranked 56th as a supplier of imports and 98th as a buyer of exports in terms of turnover in 2017.
German businesspeople residing in Cambodia have joined forces to create the German Business Group Cambodia (ADW), which serves as a point of contact for German companies interested in doing business there and provides active assistance to them.
The number of Germans visiting Cambodia is constantly growing. Compared with the previous year, the number of German visitors to Cambodia rose by 8.7 percent in 2017 to 118,000.
A bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement between Germany and Cambodia entered into force on 14 April 2002. The agreement is designed, among other things, to protect companies from expropriation without compensation and to secure the free transfer of foreign Exchange.
German development policy engagement focuses on regional economic development, strengthening the healthcare system and decentralisation.
The regional economic development programme has improved the living conditions of around one million households in rural areas. Thanks to support from Germany, better infrastructure in rural areas has increased the income of the population in the project areas by over 50 percent and reduced transport costs by 40 percent. More than 2000 kilometres of roads have been repaired and adapted to the impact of climate change, meaning they can also be used at times of flooding.
The health programme has improved access to good medical care. Maternal and infant mortality has fallen by more than two-thirds. Almost 90 percent of all births are now monitored by healthcare professionals (in 2000, this figure was 32 percent). Thanks to German support, disadvantaged people now have free access to health services. Work on setting up and extending a system of health insurance for all is progressing.
The decentralisation programme is helping districts and municipalities with their work. A network of municipal offices performs all administrative tasks for the authorities. Now that price lists are in place, the citizens know what public services cost in district administrations.
Germany is also supporting the work of the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal with projects on reconciliation and mine clearance. Cambodia remains one of the countries most heavily contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Several regional projects supplement the Federal Government’s development policy engagement in Cambodia. For example, working and social conditions in factories have improved thanks to support from Germany. The minimum wage in the textile industry is constantly rising and is now 182 dollars per month.
In 2017 and 2018, German development policy invested some 37 million euros in improving living conditions in Cambodia.
German cultural policy in Cambodia focuses on supporting the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage, developing the education and higher education sectors, and showcasing German culture, a task that includes promoting the German language.
With funds from the Federal Foreign Office, Cologne University of Applied Sciences’ Restoration and Conservation Institute has been helping preserve the world-famous temples at Angkor Wat for several years as part of the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP), thus making a major internationally acclaimed contribution to preserving the temples. GACP encompasses the restoration of the Apsara Reliefs in the Angkor Wat temple complex, as well as an emergency consolidation programme to preserve natural stone reliefs at other temples in Angkor.
In August 2016, Professor Hans Leisen and Dr Esther von Plehwe-Leisen were awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for their long‑standing commitment to conservation work at World Heritage sites, in particular the Angkor Wat temple complex. In December 2017, a symposium was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the project.
Since 2008, excavations led by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) have been under way at the Prohear burial site in Prohear, a village in Prey Veng Province, in cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and archaeologists from the Memot Centre for Archaeology in Phnom Penh. Work to document the findings is still underway.
The German Academic Exchange Service promotes academic cooperation through the secondment of a long‑term German lecturer to Cambodia and by awarding short- and long‑term scholarships to Cambodian students. In 2002, a new course in media and communication was established at the Royal University of Phnom Penh with support from the German Academic Exchange Service and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Each year, the DAAD enables a number of German scholarship holders – from students to university lecturers – to spend time in Cambodia and provides Cambodians with the opportunity to study, teach or pursue research in Germany. At the initiative of the German Academic Exchange Service and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, a delegation of 17 high‑level representatives of ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, visited Germany for the first time in 2017 to learn more about the country’s education and development systems.
The German language and intercultural understanding are fostered by the Cambodian-German Cultural Association (KDKG), the Meta House, which was founded in 2007, the ARTplus Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office’s Language Learning Centre. KDKG has signed memoranda of understanding on cooperation with Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and conducts a wide-ranging cultural exchange programme (including film, music and art), in some cases with support from the Goethe-Institut. The Phnom Penh International Music Festival, which is held every autumn, is regularly organised and supported by the German side.
Germany is supporting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which is engaged in the process of coming to terms with the Khmer Rouge past through educational work and Research.
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.