Switzerland and Benin maintain good, amicable relations, focusing on long-term development and cooperation between the two nations.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Benin
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland is represented in Cotonou by a cooperation office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and a consular agency.
Former Swiss President Doris Leuthard paid an official working visit to Benin in 2017 during which she met President Patrice Talon. In 2018, during a presidential visit to Switzerland, Mr Talon met with the incumbent president of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, with the discussions focusing on development cooperation and bilateral economic relations. Switzerland and Benin have concluded a series of bilateral agreements on trade, investment protection and technical cooperation (1966), air transport (1975), technical cooperation (1981) and the entry, residence and return of persons (2010).
Cooperation in education and training
Researchers who are citizens of Benin can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Switzerland has been present in Benin since 1981, when the country signed a cooperation agreement with the SDC. Switzerland's cooperation strategy for 2017–21 focuses on rural economic development, local governance and decentralisation, and basic education and vocational skills development. It supports various private and public stakeholders in their poverty reduction strategies, primarily in the Borgou and Alibori departments in the north-east of the country. Budget support provided by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) until 2009 encouraged the government of Benin to reform public expenditure channels.
Switzerland's financial commitment for 2021 amounts to CHF 21.5 million.
Swiss nationals in Benin
At the end of 2020, 71 Swiss nationals were living in Benin and 308 Beninese nationals were living in Switzerland.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Benin immediately upon its gaining independence on 1 August 1960, with the two countries establishing diplomatic relations that same year. Today, the Swiss embassy in Accra is responsible for bilateral relations.
Switzerland has been cooperating on development matters with Benin since its independence. Cooperation increased from 1981, after the two countries concluded a formal framework agreement. In 1983, Switzerland opened a cooperation office in Cotonou.
In 2021, Switzerland and Benin celebrate 40 years of cooperation.
Before gaining independence, Benin was a French colony from 1894 and was called the Republic of Dahomey until 1975.