Switzerland and Azerbaijan enjoy good political and economic relations based on a broad range of common interests. Cooperation in international financial institutions, development cooperation and energy policy are key aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Bilateral Relations Switzerland–Azerbaijan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Azerbaijan belongs to the voting constituencies chaired by Switzerland in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Switzerland attaches great importance to promoting good governance and the rule of law in Azerbaijan. It also engages in technical and economic cooperation with the country.
Azerbaijan is Switzerland's main trading partner in the South Caucasus. Switzerland mainly exports jewellery products (precious stones, precious metals), watches, machinery and pharmaceutical products to Azerbaijan. Several Swiss companies have operations in Azerbaijan. According to recent statistics, Swiss direct investments amounting to USD 370 million have flowed into the country over the past ten years. Switzerland is the largest investor in the non-oil sectors of Azerbaijan's economy. It supports the country's efforts to reduce its dependence on commodity trading and diversify its economy. The largest foreign direct investment in a non-oil sector of Azerbaijan's economy in the last ten years was made by a Swiss company. Another Swiss company is involved in the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is expected to transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania by 2020.
The Azerbaijani state-owned energy company SOCAR has operations in Switzerland. On 1 July 2012, SOCAR Energy took over ESSO Switzerland's network of 172 petrol stations, which it operates under the SOCAR brand. SOCAR Trading, the international marketing and development arm of SOCAR, is headquartered in Geneva.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Azerbaijan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Peacebuilding and human security
As part of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2017–2020, Switzerland promotes peaceful solutions to regional conflicts and selectively supports activities carried out by civil society organisations.
In Azerbaijan, Switzerland promotes:
- a more favourable business environment, including a better investment climate
- a modern, transparent financial sector
- better public services and governance
- the economic empowerment of women
- local art and culture
The Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2017–2020 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) focuses on economic development, peacebuilding, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The total budget for the strategy covering the three countries amounts to approximately CHF 75 million.
Swiss citizens in Azerbaijan
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 24 Swiss citizens living in Azerbaijan at the end of 2017.
The Swiss embassy supports and participates in various projects and events to promote Switzerland and Swiss culture, including film festivals, the 'Francophonie week' and the 'Settimana della lingua italiana'.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Azerbaijan as an independent state on 23 December 1991. In October 2005, Azerbaijan opened an embassy in Bern. Switzerland opened a cooperation office in Baku in 2001 and an embassy in late 2007, which was officially inaugurated in May 2008.