Last updated December 2019
Germany and Ghana maintain close and intensive political relations. Ghana is a key partner for Germany in West Africa, as illustrated not least by the inclusion of Ghana in the G20 initiative Compact with Africa under the German G20 Presidency in 2017 and by the conclusion of a bilateral reform and investment partnership the same year.
The state visits of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ghana in December 2017 and of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in August 2018 were high points in German-Ghanaian relations. Since taking office, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has met four times with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel: in June 2017 on the occasion of the G20 Africa Conference in Berlin, in February 2018 on an official visit to Germany to attend economic conferences in Dortmund and Berlin, in fall 2018 for the first CwA review conference, and again in November 2019 for the 2nd CwA Summit in Berlin.
A wide range of German institutions and intermediary organisations are active in Ghana.
German business organizations have been active in Accra since 2011 through a Delegate Office of German Industry and Commerce. A Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) correspondent has also been based in Accra since early 2014.
Cultural intermediaries – such as the Goethe-Institut, but also institutions like the German-Swiss International School (GSIS) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – promote scientific, academic and cultural exchange between the two countries.
Ghana is a priority country for German bilateral development cooperation. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has had an office in Accra since 1983, and the KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW development bank) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG, German Investment and Development Company) have also maintained offices in the city since 2008. In addition, the DW Akademie and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation are engaged in development cooperation with Ghana.
Church-affiliated organisations (such as MISEREOR and Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service) are active in areas including rural development and vocational training. The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) sent a pastor to its German-speaking congregation in Ghana in 2017, after the position had been vacant for a longer period of time.
As part of peacekeeping and crisis prevention measures, Germany is engaged in efforts to develop and stabilise regional security structures, e.g. through the work of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), which was established in 2004 with significant support from Germany. Germany is currently helping the KAIPTC to train troops for deployment in United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping missions as well as police and civilian personnel for deployment in post-conflict situations. Germany has also seconded a German police adviser and a German military adviser to assist with these activities.
In addition, Germany is providing, through its Equipment Aid Programme, a Federal Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group to help Ghana build an engineer regiment for the planned rapid reaction force of the AU and ECOWAS.
Germany is also contributing equipment to the four ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centres (MMCCs) located on the Gulf of Guinea, one of which is based in Accra.
Ghana is one of Germany’s most important trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s bilateral trade with Germany totalled 628 million euros in 2018, representing an increase of about 30 percent compared to 2017. Germany exported goods worth 231 million euros to Ghana in 2018, while importing goods worth 394 million euros. The Ghanaian Government is seeking to stimulate the country’s economy, in particular by strengthening the private sector, while also aiming to dismantle existing barriers to foreign investment. Ghana is a member the G20 initiative Compact with Africa, which was launched under the German G20 Presidency to improve conditions for private investment and thus boost innovation and job creation in Africa.
In February 2019 Ghana hosted the German African Business Summit (GABS), Germany’s signature business event in Africa which brought together more than 650 participants from 25 countries. In November 2019, the first ever Ghanaian-German Business Council meeting was held in Berlin. It is the only Business Council Germany maintains with a country from Sub Sahara Africa. The future of economic relations will be defined above all by the sectors renewable energies, recycling, wastewater management and sustainable development, above all in the spheres of automation and vocational training. The West African Clean Energy and Environment Exhibition and Trade Fair (WACEE) organised by the Delegate office of German Industry and Commerce in Accra has not just established itself as the most important environment and energy trade fair but also as the largest and most international business fair in West Africa.
Companies from Germany are showing a growing interest in Ghana. Several German firms have recently opened regional offices in Ghana which are responsible for West Africa.
The aim of German-Ghanaian development cooperation is to consolidate Ghana’s status as a lower middle-income country by promoting sustainable, inclusive and poverty-oriented economic growth. German development cooperation with Ghana focuses on the following priority areas:
- agriculture: sustained increase in the competitiveness and market orientation of the agricultural sector with a focus on value chains
- sustainable economic development (including vocational training): support for the reform of the vocational training sector as well as improvement in access to financial services
- good governance/decentralisation: promotion of participation in local decision-making processes, creation of better living conditions through effective municipal administration, increased tax revenues and strengthening of domestic financial accountability
In addition, German bilateral development cooperation is providing support in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as electrical and electronic waste recycling.
In December 2017, Germany also entered into a reform partnership with Ghana under the umbrella of the G20 initiative Compact with Africa. This came with a pledge of an additional 100 million euros ‒ under the guiding principle of “challenge and support” – that is linked to a reform agenda and partly tied to certain conditions. The focus of the reform partnership is to support Ghana in making a private-sector driven transition to renewable energies and energy efficiency as well as in setting up relevant vocational training programmes.
Germany has provided a total of more than 1.5 billion euros to support Ghana’s sustainable development since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1957. In the period from 2015 to 2017, German bilateral assistance to Ghana amounted to 141.1 million euros plus 100 million euros for the reform partnership. As a result of the intergovernmental negotiations on bilateral development cooperation with Ghana in autumn 2018, Germany has assisted Ghana with 16 million EUR to secure its shareholding and membership into the African Trade Insurance (ATI) Agency, as the first financing agreement under the Reform and Investment Partnership with Germany.
The Goethe-Institut has been active in Accra for over 50 years, offering language courses and examinations as well as a wide-ranging programme of cultural events.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a branch office in Accra from which the DAAD staff support student and academic exchange and promote Germany as a place to study. The number of Ghanaian students receiving DAAD scholarships has increased by more than 60 percent in the last five years.
There are currently around 50 bilateral partnerships between universities in Ghana and Germany. The University of Education, Winneba, and the Ghana Institute of Languages, at its campuses in Accra and Kumasi, offer programmes in German as a Foreign Language as well as in German Studies and Translation.
Since the 2012/13 academic year, the German-Swiss International School (GSIS) in Accra has been an official German school abroad funded by the German Government. It is the only certified German School in West Africa.
Through support provided by the German Federal Foreign Office in the framework of its Initiative “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH)“ German language instruction is also provided at the Accra Academy and the Wesley Girls Senior High School in Accra and the Opoku Ware Senior High School in Kumasi.
The research initiative West African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) was launched in 2012 by ten West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo) as well as Germany to foster scientific networking in the area of climate research and to strengthen the capacity to adapt to climate change and promote sustainable land use in West Africa. WASCAL is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is jointly implemented by West African and German partners. Responsibility for project coordination lies with the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn.
During the state visit of Federal President Steinmeier in December 2017, an agreement to establish a research centre on sustainable governance was signed between the University of Ghana and a consortium of research institutions led by the University of Freiburg. The new Maria Sybilla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA), which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, began operations in Accra in 2018.
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.