Last updated in October 2017
Germany has maintained diplomatic relations with Morocco since 1956. Contacts have traditionally been close, friendly and untroubled. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and King Mohammed VI met most recently in 2010. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Müller and Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel visited Morocco in 2016 for bilateral talks. Delegations from the German Bundestag and the Länder parliaments make regular visits to Morocco. Saxony’s Minister-President and then Bundesrat President Stanislaw Tillich visited Morocco in September 2016.
There is close cooperation between Germany and Morocco in the political, economic and cultural spheres as well as in development cooperation, especially on key issues such as science and research, energy and the environment. In addition, bilateral dialogue on democratic development, the rule of law, civil society and human rights has intensified in recent years. The German-Moroccan Joint Economic Commission, which was set up in 2012, met most recently in autumn 2014. On 1 January 2017, Morocco and Germany assumed the two-year co-chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
In November 2016, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22) was held in Marrakech, with Morocco taking over the presidency from France. Federal Ministers Barbara Hendricks, Christian Schmidt and Gerd Müller represented Germany at the conference. Germany supported the Moroccan presidency of COP 22, and through development cooperation is also helping the country to implement its climate and environmental policies. The two countries are also cooperating closely under the framework of the German-Moroccan Energy Partnership (PAREMA).
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have their own offices in Rabat.
According to Federal Statistical Office figures, there are currently 72,000 Moroccans living in Germany. The Moroccan Government puts the number of people of Moroccan descent in Germany at around 150,000.
In 2016, Germany ranked seventh among Morocco’s trading partners, behind, among others, France, Spain, the United States and China. That same year, Morocco ranked 57th among Germany’s international trading partners, with German imports from Morocco worth more than one billion euros and German exports to Morocco more than two billion euros. There are nearly 200 companies with German equity participation operating in Morocco, mainly concentrated in the Casablanca area. Most of them are sales offices, some of which handle business with francophone sub-Saharan African countries from Morocco. Germany’s main exports to Morocco are motor vehicles, mechanical engineering products, electrical goods and chemical products. Key business sectors are the automotive supply industry, renewable energy, environmental services (water, waste management and recycling) and agriculture (Morocco being one of the main importers of German breeding cattle).
The German-Moroccan Joint Economic Commission is seeking to further stimulate economic exchange between the two countries and place it on a broader footing.
A bilateral double taxation agreement has been in force since 1974 and an investment protection agreement since 2008. The German-Moroccan Social Security and Child Benefit Agreements, both of which entered into force in 1996, enable beneficiaries to receive German pension and child benefit payments in Morocco.
Development cooperation is a cornerstone of German relations with Morocco. Germany is one of Morocco’s largest bilateral donors. As a partner country of Germany, Morocco is the largest recipient of German funding in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, ahead of Egypt. Between 2012 and 2016, Germany pledged Morocco an average of some 473 million euros, mainly in the form of concessionary loans. Focusing on water, energy, the environment and sustainable economic development, German development cooperation with Morocco is active in the core areas of economic and social development. New projects have been added in the area of migration, providing Morocco with support in integrating migrants into the country.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides further information on its website.
Culture and education
Besides programme work, German cultural activities in Morocco focus on promoting the German language and on scientific and academic cooperation. The Goethe-Institut has offices in Casablanca and Rabat and two German Points of Dialogue, in Tangiers and Oujda. The Goethe-Institut also oversees six PASCH schools (schools that attach particular importance to German teaching). In addition, there is a German-Moroccan intercultural association in Tangiers.
In higher education, there are more than 20 partnerships between German and Moroccan universities as well as a joint funding programme for bilateral research projects. Partnerships also exist between the German Research Foundation (DFG) and Morocco’s National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) and between the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and Morocco’s National Institute of Sciences of Archaeology and Heritage (INSAP). There are German Departments at the Universities of Fez, Rabat and Casablanca as well as at the King Fahd School of Translation in Tangiers. There are German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) lectors working in Rabat and Meknes who also offer student counselling.
The Federal Foreign Office also funds cultural preservation measures in Morocco. For example, the Slat Alfassiyine synagogue in Fez, which was renovated with funding provided under the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office, was opened in spring 2013 at a ceremony attended by the then President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, and Morocco’s then Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.
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.