Last updated in July 2018
Germany is held in high regard in Oman. Political relations are friendly and untroubled. Then Federal President Wulff paid a state visit to Oman in December 2011. Bilateral political consultations were held in Berlin in May 2014; the 14th meeting of the Joint Economic Commission was held in Muscat on 5 and 6 December 2016. Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi had political talks with his German counterpart in Berlin in October 2017. Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Muscat in March 2016. German Bundestag President Lammert opened the new German Embassy in Muscat in October 2017. The German Länder regularly send delegations to Oman for talks, most recently Minister Wissing from Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavarian State Minister Pschierer in spring 2018.
The activities of German companies in Oman since the 1960s have helped to successfully build a robust infrastructure in the Sultanate and have created a considerable degree of trust.
Germany has always been one of Oman’s key economic partners in the non-oil sector. In 2017, German exports to Oman were worth 916.5 million euros (2016: 834.1 million euros). Germany’s principal exports to Oman were motor vehicles and components, pharmaceuticals, plastics, industrial chemicals and machinery. Imports from Oman amounted to 38.8 million euros in 2017 (2016: 39.4 million euros). The actual value of German exports to Oman is probably higher as some of them reach Oman via the United Arab Emirates. Germany is not a direct buyer of Omani oil and gas.
The 14th meeting of the German‑Omani Joint Economic Commission, which was set up in 1978, was held on 5 and 6 December 2016 in Muscat. Trade and investment, SME development, renewable energies, environmental protection, education and training, healthcare and tourism were agreed as the main fields for cooperation. In November 2014 and November 2016, the Owners Forum Middle East was held in Muscat. It brought together some 160 entrepreneurs from family firms who discussed regional economic topics and talked about the challenges that entrepreneurs face in different cultures. Omani family businesses took advantage of the forum to strengthen their relations with German companies.
A bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement entered into force on 4 April 2010. The German‑Omani double taxation agreement, which was signed on 15 August 2012 in Muscat, has yet to be ratified by the German side and negotiations are currently ongoing.
In 2016, aggregate German direct investment in Oman is calculated as an estimated 221 million euros (2015: 42 million euros, GTAI figures). German companies were involved in a number of infrastructure projects in Oman: Siemens has supplied turbines for gas-fired power plants in Sohar and Barka and Munich Airport has provided consulting services for developing Muscat and Salalah Airports. Over the past few years, Germany has become an important trade fair venue for Omani entrepreneurs. Oman is to be a partner country at the ITB Berlin in 2020. Germany has had a pavilion at the BIG Show in Muscat every year since March 2012, as it did again in 2018. A large number of Omanis travel to Germany for medical treatment, Germany’s healthcare system enjoying a good reputation in Oman. Cooperation in healthcare is to be stepped up based on a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries’ health ministers in January 2011.
The growing number of German tourists visiting Oman has tipped the balance of trade in Oman’s favour. Germans currently make up the second‑largest group of visitors from Europe, after Britons. There are around 750 German citizens living in Oman.
In higher education, there are ties between the state‑run Sultan Qaboos University and German universities as well as with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and German research institutions. In 2014, Germany and Oman signed a declaration of intent on cooperation on culture, education, science and research.
Bilateral relations in the cultural and education sectors focus on cooperation in science and technology, in particular with Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Heritage and Culture, as well as between German universities and the Sultan Qaboos University and the University of Nizwa. Since 2005, the DAAD has been looking after Omani students who complete their Bachelor in Germany as part of the government scholarship programme operated by the Omani Ministry of Higher Education.
In the field of scientific research, the Helmholtz Association signed a cooperation agreement with the Research Council (TRC) on 1 June 2015. Alongside this there are several individual science projects as well as contacts of the Fraunhofer FOKUS.
In December 2006, an agreement to set up the private German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) was signed with the German partner RWTH Aachen University. It began operating in Muscat in autumn 2007. In the academic year 2017/18, almost 2000 students were enrolled at GUtech in various engineering and economics programmes, some two‑thirds are women. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a lector working there.
There are currently some 1500 Omanis learning German. German has been taught at the German Language Centre in Muscat run by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with the Omani Education Ministry since 2007 (400-500 pupils), at four Omani universities and as a second foreign language at five state and some private Omani secondary schools since 2012. Two of the schools have been admitted to the Schools: Partners for the Future network (PASCH). The Goethe-Institute engages in cultural work from its regional base in Abu Dhabi.
In archaeology, there are long‑standing bilateral contacts with German universities and research institutions. Relations date back to the 1970s when the German Mining Museum in Bochum performed excavations. A group of archaeologists from the University of Tübingen have been spending time working on an excavation near Al Khashba since 2015. The Federal Foreign Office funded the investigation and restoration of prehistoric tombs in Bat and the archaeology park in al-Balid (Dhofar).
Relations in the sports sector encompass football, hockey, volleyball and track and athletics. In October 2012, the Omani‑German Friendship Society focusing primarily on the economy was founded with H.H. Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib Al Said as its Honorary President with the support of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Muscat. A German‑Omani Association, which was founded in Bonn on 4 September 1992, also seeks to develop friendly relations between the two countries and promote cooperation in culture, business, science, academia and sports. The Association is based in Berlin.
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.