Germany and Cameroon: Bilateral Relations

21.03.2019 - Article

Political relations

Relations between Germany and Cameroon are good. German engagement in the country centres mainly on development cooperation.

After President Paul Biya’s state visit to the Federal Republic of Germany in September 1986 and Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s official visit to Cameroon in November 1987, a long period ensued in which there were no high-level visits in either direction. This changed in the wake of a visit to Cameroon, from 28 October to 2 November 2012, by then Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel. Since then, high-level visits have become more frequent: the then Vice-President of the German Bundestag, Johannes Singhammer, visited Cameroon together with a parliamentary delegation from 15 to 19 June 2014, and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Müller visited the country from 12 to 15 March 2015. Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, visited Germany from 22 to 25 February 2015. Regular visits to Cameroon by German Bundestag delegations underscore the good bilateral relations between the two countries at parliamentary level.

A number of German organisations are active in Cameroon, most of them based in Yaoundé. They include the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Information Centre at the University of Yaoundé I, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung both have regional offices in the country. The Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), the Civil Peace Service (CPS), the Senior Expert Service (SES), Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation support projects in various parts of Cameroon. The German Seamen’s Mission runs a seamen’s home in Douala, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in March 2016.

Economic relations

The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is relatively modest and fluctuates from year to year. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, German imports from Cameroon were worth 74.885 million euros in 2017. During the same period, German exports to Cameroon totalled 118.694 million euros, resulting in a German trade surplus of 43.809 million euros for 2017.

Development cooperation

Cameroon is one of the partner countries of German development cooperation. Germany works together closely with such countries on the basis of intergovernmental agreements. Intergovernmental negotiations between Germany and Cameroon were previously held every two years, but as of 2016 take place every three years. At the most recent negotiations, which were held in November 2016 in Berlin, the German and Cameroonian Governments coordinated their development cooperation for the next three years, with Germany making new commitments worth 100.5 million euros. In late 2016, partly in response to the refugee situation in the country, the German Government increased its pledged assistance by an additional 25 million euros.

Since Cameroon gained independence, Germany has provided approximately one billion euros to support the country’s development.

Bilateral development cooperation currently focuses on three priority areas: decentralisation and responsible governance, the sustainable use of natural resources and rural development. In addition, in the health care sector Germany provides financial support to combat maternal and infant mortality. Support is also being given to measures designed to address the challenges posed by the influx of refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic as well as internally displaced persons.

A number of further support measures continue to be implemented in conjunction with regional organisations based in Yaoundé. These include support of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and cooperation with the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDs and previously little-studied tropical diseases.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) are the key players in German development cooperation with Cameroon. They employ a total of some 40 seconded experts, who work closely with national and international partners.

The Civil Peace Service (CPS), which commenced work in Cameroon in 2010, currently has around 15 seconded experts working in the country.

The Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft’s engagement in Cameroon includes providing guarantees, loans and equity investments, especially in the agricultural, tourism and energy sectors.

There are three experts from the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), a GIZ-affiliated organisation, working in Cameroon in various sectors.

Senior Expert Service personnel are regularly deployed in the country focusing on rural development, strengthening healthcare and supporting SMEs.

German church-affiliated organisations are also active in development cooperation with Cameroon.

Cultural relations

In Cameroon, there is keen interest in Germany owing to the good reputation the latter enjoys in the field of science and technology. There are some 230,000 Cameroonian students learning German and around 1000 German teachers. Five schools receive logistical, financial and pedagogical support under the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), which was launched by the Federal Foreign Office.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is currently seeking applications for a lector position at the University of Yaoundé. A DAAD Information Centre was officially opened there in October 2010 and provides advice on courses and scholarships. It is staffed by a German language assistant and a freelance employee. Another DAAD lector teaches at the University of Dschang.

Cameroon maintains very good and close academic contacts with Germany. The DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation support postgraduate students, academics, scientists and researchers by awarding scholarships and donating equipment.

Some 7300 Cameroonians are currently enrolled at German universities, making them by far the largest group of African students in Germany.

The keen interest in Germany is reflected in the activities of the Goethe-Institut in Cameroon, which – besides having a particularly large language department compared with the rest of the region – runs a language learning centre in Douala. The language courses, film screenings and cultural events offered through the Goethe-Institut are very popular, especially among young people.

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.

Additional content

Cameroon is a partner country of German development cooperation. For more information please visit the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Top of page