For over 60 years, diplomatic relations between Germany and Sri Lanka have provided a sound basis for cooperation.
For several years, Sri Lanka’s exports to Germany have been worth about twice as much as its imports from Germany. Germany is Sri Lanka’s third most important export market. For many years, Germans have also made up a large proportion of the foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Founded in 1999, the Sri Lanka-Germany Business Council, in which businesspeople from both countries seek to promote bilateral economic relations, has over 100 members. Since March 2018, the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad have been represented in Colombo by a Delegation of German Industry and Commerce.
Germany is engaged in a variety of ways in Sri Lanka (through the Goethe-Institut, the South Asia Institute and friendship societies) and is respected and valued as a reliable partner. Germany has been one of Sri Lanka’s most important bilateral donors since the late 1950s. Development cooperation with Sri Lanka has been restructured since 2006 to highlight conflict transformation and peacebuilding, concentrating today on reconciliation, social integration, education, private sector promotion and vocational training, with a regional focus on the north and north-east of the country.
The German political foundations that had been active in the country terminated their local programme work in 2013. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom reopened an office in Colombo in early 2016. The other political foundations are also engaged in project work in the country.
Together with its EU partners and other Western countries, Germany is monitoring and promoting respect for human rights in Sri Lanka. In the wake of a civil war that lasted nearly 30 years, the focus is on achieving lasting reconciliation between the country’s various ethnic Groups.