Last updated in March 2018
Relations between Germany and Paraguay are amicable and untroubled.
Germany enjoys a particularly positive image in Paraguay. The many German immigrants have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of the country. The German Government’s engagement there in terms of development cooperation and cultural policy is appreciated. Germany’s role within the European Union, especially during the refugee crisis, is being watched closely and garners much respect.
Paraguay was and still is a destination for German emigrants. In the first half of the 20th century, these were mainly ethnic German Mennonites fleeing Stalinism in the Soviet Union or Germans seeking to escape the economic misery caused by the First and Second World Wars. Today, these are often retired people settling in Paraguay on account of the favourable climate and living conditions. The number of emigrants each year has nearly tripled, from 253 in 2014 to 739 in 2017. According to figures from the Paraguayan migration authorities, there were a total of 17,493 German nationals (excluding persons holding German-Paraguayan dual nationality) living in Paraguay at the end of 2017.
Bilateral trade between Germany and Paraguay is relatively balanced and totals approximately 400 million US dollars annually. Germany’s main exports to Paraguay are vehicle parts, machinery and chemical products, while its main imports from Paraguay are raw materials, especially oil seeds and oleaginous fruits. German penetration of the Paraguayan market is, however, much larger if the goods supplied by German subsidiaries in Brazil, Argentina and the United States to Paraguay are also taken into account.
The investment protection and promotion agreement that entered into force in 1998 offers investors the option of submitting legal disputes to an international arbitral tribunal. Nevertheless, a number of serious cases involving investment protection issues have arisen. The resolution of such cases can be a long and tedious process due to the lack of legal certainty and is not always possible even with the intervention of the German Embassy.
Frequently recurring problems in Paraguay include unclear land ownership, the occupation of land by landless peasants and illegal land appropriations by neighbours. There are occasionally cases where German property owners are affected.
At the intergovernmental talks held in October 2015, the German Government pledged to continue development cooperation in the coming years. Rural development remains the focus of work in this area, particularly that of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which is implementing new projects. These are complemented by individual strategic measures in the areas of natural resource management and vocational training.
Experts from the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV) are supporting Paraguayan co-operative associations by advising and training staff. Paraguay is second only to Germany in terms of having the highest concentration of co-operatives in the world.
As part of financial cooperation, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) is conducting a number of programmes to support small farmers and small and medium-sized companies. New projects to protect the environment are in preparation.
Paraguay also participates in several regional programmes being conducted by German development cooperation.
Culture and education
German instruction is supported at 18 schools in Paraguay. In all, there are some 8800 students learning German at the country’s schools. The leading institutions are the Colegio Goethe (with more than 1000 students) and the Colegio Alemán Concordia in Asunción (with around 500 students). An important role is also played by the schools in the main settlement areas for German immigrants and Mennonites in the country’s interior.
In higher education, bilateral cooperation is particularly pronounced in science and engineering subjects. There is a considerable exchange through visits by German scientists and academics or study and research trips by Paraguayans to Germany, which are often supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). There are a number of formal higher education partnerships between the two countries. There has been a DAAD lector working at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción since October 2014. The Universidad Paraguayo Alemana, a German-Paraguayan joint venture whose curriculum is based on that of German universities of applied sciences, welcomed its first students in spring 2014. Degrees awarded by this private university are recognised in Germany.
Through its wide range of language courses and cultural events, the Instituto Cultural Paraguayo-Alemán – Goethe-Zentrum in Asunción makes an acknowledged contribution to cultural life in the capital. The institute works closely with the branch offices of the Goethe-Institut in the region and is a popular provider of certified German courses.
In recent years, the German Government has increased its funding for cultural preservation projects in Paraguay, including the restoration of the bell tower at the Jesuit reduction in Trinidad, the German cemetery in San Bernardino and the graphic art collection of the Museo del Barro in Asunción.
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.