Germany and Kenya have a traditionally close partnership based on wide-ranging relations in the political, economic and cultural spheres. The Federal Republic of Germany was the first country to officially recognise Kenya after it gained independence in 1963. Germany regards Kenya as an important partner in a crisis-ridden region.
Kenya is Germany’s most important trading partner in East Africa. Over 50 German firms are based in the country. Bilateral trade has developed positively in recent years and direct investments have also increased once again, although social inequality remains high.
Kenya is an important partner of German development cooperation. Agriculture, sustainable development and vocational training are priority areas in bilateral development cooperation with Kenya. German development cooperation also supports anti-corruption measures, the renewable energies sector, and refugees and host communities. Youth employment is the overarching goal of development cooperation with Kenya. In 2018, the German Government pledged approximately 100 million euros in new development cooperation funding. The current total portfolio for bilateral state development cooperation amounts to over 500 million euros.
Cultural collaboration between Germany and Kenya focuses on academic and scientific cooperation, scholarships and the promotion of sport. The Goethe Institute in Nairobi has promoted the German language and culture in Kenya since 1963. The regional office of the German Academic Exchange Service in Nairobi was founded in 1974 and promotes academic exchange between Kenya and Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service runs a large number of programmes, awarding scholarships to especially gifted Kenyan students that enable them to study in both Germany and Kenya. German tourists also account for a large number of international visitors to Kenya.
In 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed on setting up an East African-German university of applied sciences. The idea is that this university will supplement the existing Technical and Vocational Education and Training Initiative as an academic institution.