Last updated in January 2018
The State of Kuwait and the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations in 1964. Germany is highly regarded in Kuwait as a major political and economic force in Europe and as a country that has traditionally maintained good relations with the Arab world. This is demonstrated by the numerous high-level political visits to Kuwait in recent years. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah travelled to Berlin for talks in October 2016, and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel visited Kuwait in April and June 2017.
Recent high points of diplomatic exchange also include the visit to Germany by the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in April 2010 and the visit to Kuwait by Germany’s then Federal President Christian Wulff on 26 February 2011 to attend the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Kuwaiti independence (as well as the 20th anniversary of Liberation Day and the fifth anniversary of the Emir’s rule). In September 2014, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a visit to Berlin by the Kuwaiti Prime Minister. The then President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, visited Kuwait in February 2016 accompanied by a Bundestag delegation.
German exports to Kuwait totalled 1.4 billion euros in 2016, while imports from Kuwait amounted to approximately 19 million euros during the same period. This makes Kuwait Germany’s ninth largest trading partner in the Middle East. Kuwait is the fourth most important market for German goods among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Germany is undisputedly Kuwait’s most important trading partner in the European Union.
The main goods supplied to Kuwait by Germany are high-end vehicles, machinery, industrial facilities (in particular power stations), electrical goods, chemical products, iron goods and medical technology.
Kuwait holds substantial investments in Germany and has shares in leading German companies.
After entering into force in 1987, the double taxation agreement between Germany and Kuwait was revised and renegotiated in 1999. An investment promotion and protection agreement between the two countries entered into force on 15 November 1997. The fifth meeting of the Kuwaiti-German Joint Commission for Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation was held in Berlin in January 2017.
A bilateral cultural agreement has been in place since 12 June 1989.
Following Germany’s signing of a memorandum of understanding with Kuwait’s Ministry of Higher Education, Kuwaiti students have been able to study in Germany under a Kuwaiti Government scholarship programme since the 2009/2010 winter semester. So far, around 20 scholarship holders have benefited from this programme.
There is cooperation in higher education with Düsseldorf, Goethe University Frankfurt and Mannheim. The Technical University of Munich is planning to set up a campus in Kuwait.
The German School was not reopened after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990/91. In autumn 2016, instruction in German and other languages (but following the US curriculum) began at a trilingual Kuwaiti school set up by a private investor from Kuwait, initially comprising a kindergarten section and years one and two. Otherwise, the children of German companies’ employees and specialists have been mainly reliant on international schools modelled on the British, American or French education systems. The British School of Kuwait, which offers German instruction from year five onwards, has been part of the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH) since 2009.
English is the most common foreign language taught in Kuwait. German is not taught at the country’s state schools, but private language schools and teachers offer German courses.
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.