Germany and Kuwait: Bilateral relations

19.05.2021 - Article

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 by top German politicians in recent years. Furthermore, Foreign Minister Maas signed a declaration of intent on the further expansion of bilateral relations in December 2018.

Germany is undisputedly Kuwait’s most important trading partner in the European Union. In 2019 it ranked fifth behind China, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Japan with exports to Kuwait totalling around 1.4 billion euro. Germany’s main exports were vehicles and vehicle parts, machinery and electrical goods as well as pharmaceutical and similar products. German imports from Kuwait amounted to a mere 77.6 million euro in 2019. The substantial state investment from Kuwait in Germany totals approximately 17.4 billion euro. Kuwait has shares in leading German companies (including Daimler AG and GEA). In addition, private investment (for example, Weinig AG and Ricosta) amounts to around 14.6 billion euro. The Kuwaiti-German Joint Commission for Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation, which met for the fifth time in 2017, is an important forum for expanding economic cooperation.

The bilateral cultural agreement that entered into force in 1989 forms the framework for cultural cooperation. There are cooperation arrangements with the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and the University of Mannheim. Since 2017, a consultancy project between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Kuwaiti Environmental Public Authority (EPA) has been underway in the field of waste disposal.

The German School was not reopened after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990/91. In autumn 2016, an American-German school was opened, where lessons are taught in English, German and Arabic in line with the US curriculum. The school has a kindergarten. Otherwise, the children of German 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.

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