Last updated in August 2018
The Government of Rwanda has a positive image of Germany. Relations are good and pragmatic, and Germany is regarded 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 with Belgian colonial rule. The swift assistance provided by Germany following the genocide and civil war of 1994 is remembered and continues to be appreciated by Rwandans.
Since economic cooperation began in 1962, Germany has so far made available more than 810 million euros for development cooperation.
Development cooperation focuses on the priority areas of decentralisation, good governance, sustainable economic development including vocational training and public finance management. In addition, the German Government is providing support to Rwanda in areas including energy generation and transmission, commodity certification, peacebuilding and reconciliation.
Government development cooperation programmes are being conducted in Rwanda by experts from the implementing organisations Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the Handwerkskammer Koblenz, Welthungerhilfe (formerly German Agro Action) and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation are implementing development policy projects using Federal Government funding.
On a decentralised level, the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate has maintained a close partnership with Rwanda since 1982 and has its own coordination office in Kigali.
In February 2017, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung became the first German political foundation to open an office in Rwanda.
The Goethe-Institut has had a presence in Kigali since 2009. At first, it ran a liaison office but since 2014 has had a fully-fledged Goethe-Institut in the city. The Goethe-Institut has established itself as a key player in Rwanda’s cultural life.
A German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) lector has been working in Rwanda since September 2016. The DAAD supports academic exchange programmes. A memorandum of understanding governs a PhD programme which is initially benefiting 20 Rwandan doctoral students per year.
The Green Hills Academy in Kigali is a PASCH school. The Goethe-Institut in Nairobi supports the school’s language tuition within the framework of the partner school initiative.
The Federal Foreign Office is working with UNHCR and the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) to enable refugees to study in Rwanda.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Kandt, the first German Imperial Resident and founder of Kigali, Kandt House was renovated in 2017 and a modern exhibition on the German colonial era was opened.
Other elements of bilateral cultural relations are additional scholarship programmes, the Goethe-Institut’s language courses and numerous projects focusing mainly on sport, music and film.
Partnership between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda
The partnership between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda was established in June 1982 through an official exchange of letters. There are now more than 50 municipalities and districts in Rhineland-Palatinate that have partnerships with Rwandan municipalities, and contacts exist between some 250 schools in Rwanda and Rhineland-Palatinate. Churches, universities and universities of applied sciences, associations, companies and social groups such as sports clubs and educational institutions are also involved in the partnership. Fostering such exchange between civil society actors complements official government cooperation. The 30th anniversary of this partnership was celebrated in October 2012. Rhineland-Palatinate has its own coordination office in Kigali.
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.