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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Niger
Niger is a priority country for international cooperation. For over 30 years the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC has been assisting Niger with rural development, education and training programmes, and also in dealing with the famine across the Sahel region of Africa since 2012.
Relations between Switzerland and Niger focus on long-term cooperation to improve living conditions in Niger and assist development.
Niger is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. SDC has been active in Niger since 1977. It
- seeks to improve the quality of life of Niger's population
- is active in rural development
- promotes the education sector
- and encourages gender equality.
SDC's activities focus on three regions:
- Gaya in the southwest, at the border with Benin and Nigeria
- Maradi, the centre of agricultural production
- Tillabéri, in the centre and northwest of the country.
The SDC invests around CHF 11 million each year in his activites in Niger.
Niger is one of the countries in the Sahel region of Africa which has been hit by food crises. Humanitarian aid provided by SDC already helped to combat the famines in 2005 and 2010. The lack of rainfall since 2010 has made the supply situation worse, and the effects of this could still be felt in 2012. Ten million people are affected by food shortages. This region has experienced three periods of drought in less than ten years. In addition, outbreaks of violence in the north of Mali forced around 160,000 people to leave their homes. Many of them sought refuge in neighbouring countries, among them Niger.
As part of development cooperation, Switzerland pledged CHF 14.1 million to help alleviate the famine. A total of CHF 4 million has been earmarked for the World Food Programme for its projects in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. A further CHF 4 million is intended to cover the costs of emergency relief. NGOs are receiving CHF 1.5 million for the distribution of Swiss dairy products in order to improve the nutrition situation.
In 2011, there were 60 Swiss nationals living in Niger.
Switzerland recognised Niger in 1960 and went on to establish diplomatic relations. Despite various agreements on trade, investment protection and technical cooperation between 1962 and 1978, the volume of trade between the two countries is low.