Germany and Rwanda enjoy close and pragmatic relations, with Germany generally regarded by Rwanda as a partner with no hidden economic or political agenda. A nostalgic view is often taken of the German colonial era because it now lies in the distant past and is seen to offer a sharp contrast to Belgian colonial rule. The swift assistance provided by Germany following the genocide and civil war of 1994 has not been forgotten and continues to be appreciated by Rwandans.
Development cooperation between the two countries is a major component of bilateral relations. Since 1962, Germany has provided over €810 million for development cooperation. Rwanda remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Despite all previous endeavours to foster development and the achievements made in this field, 40% of the population still lives in poverty.
Bilateral development cooperation focuses on decentralisation, good governance, sustainable economic development, including vocational training, and public financial management. In addition, the German Government provides support to Rwanda in areas including energy generation and transmission, commodity certification, peacebuilding and reconciliation.
The Goethe-Institut has been represented in Kigali as an independent institute since 2014, while the German Academic Exchange Service has been represented by a specialist university teacher for German as a foreign language in Huye since 2016. In addition to providing support to the education sector, these organisations carry out cultural projects in Rwanda and offer scholarships.
At the decentralised level, Land Rhineland-Palatinate has maintained a close partnership with Rwanda since 1982 and has its own coordination office in Kigali. Churches, schools, universities, universities of applied sciences, associations, companies and social groups such as sports clubs and educational institutions are involved in the partnership. This unique promotion of exchange between civil societies complements intergovernmental cooperation.