Relations between Switzerland and Algeria are good. They go back to the period of Algeria's struggle for independence and the positive role that Switzerland played at the Evian conference between the provisional government of the Algerian Republic and the French colonial authorities. In 2015, Switzerland opened a new embassy building in Algiers.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Algeria
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The quality of relations between the two countries is reflected in the signing of several agreements in the areas of business, trade, tertiary level education, scientific research, culture, the movement of persons and mutual assistance in criminal matters. From an institutional perspective, these relations are part of a regular political dialogue between the two ministries of foreign affairs which began with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation in 2004. There has been a regular exchange on migration between the two countries since 2012. At the beginning of June 2012, Algeria and Switzerland signed a bilateral agreement in Geneva in the context of Algeria's accession to the World Trade Organization.
With a total trading volume in 2018 of CHF 442 million, Algeria is Switzerland's eleventh largest trading partner in Africa. Switzerland traditionally exports goods including pharmaceutical products, machines and agricultural products to Algeria.
About 30 Swiss companies operate in Algeria. The bilateral agreement on the protection of investments and the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation in the areas of income and wealth taxes have helped to increase legal certainty in economic and trade relations between the two countries.
A Swiss-Algerian Business Club was set up in April 2018, with a committee composed of representatives from Swiss companies operating in Algeria.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Algeria can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI). A cooperation arrangement is in place between Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and Ecole Supérieure d'Hôtellerie et de Restauration d'Alger (ESHRA).
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland's cooperation strategy in North Africa for the 2017–2020 period has three components:
Democratic processes and human rights
Economic development and employment
Migration and protection
Under this programme, Switzerland has been supporting projects to strengthen dialogue between the authorities and civil society since 2017. Projects will be evaluated in a later phase.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Since 1976, the SDC has supported the United Nations World Food Programme by providing funding and milk powder to help refugees from the Western Sahara in camps near Tindouf in south-western Algeria.
Switzerland actively participates in events to promote the French language (French-speaking days) and Italian language (Italian culture week). Their shared language, French, and geographical proximity favour cultural exchanges between the two countries. Switzerland actively contributes to various film and music festivals, for example by providing a country pavilion, and is also involved in the annual book fair in Algiers.
Swiss nationals in Algeria
In 2018, there were about 433 Swiss citizens living in Algeria.
History of bilateral relations
During the 19th century, many Swiss nationals emigrated to Algeria, which was then a French colony. They were mainly working in the agriculture (tobacco and wine growing) and trade sections. During the Algerian War (1954 to 1962), Switzerland mediated between the conflicting parties, receiving fighters from the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), who were seeking independence from the French.
After secret meetings in Lucerne and Neuchâtel, the agreements on Algeria's independence were concluded in Evian in March 1962. Since that date Switzerland has maintained an embassy in Algiers.