Bilateral relations Switzerland–Benin

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Benin are friendly and good. They focus on the long-standing developpement cooperation programme between Benin and Switzerland.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Benin maintains a permanent representation in Geneva. This representation is also accredited in Switzerland as an embassy. Switzerland is represented in Cotonou by a cooperation office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

In 2017, the sitting President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard made an official working visit in Benin and met the President Patrice Talon. In 2007, the then President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, made an official visit to Benin and was received by President Thomas Boni-Yayi. In 2010, President Boni-Yayi and the then President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, met in Montreux (Switzerland) on the margins of the Francophonie Summit. Switzerland and Benin have concluded a number of bilateral agreements: in 1966 on trade, investment protection, investments and technical cooperation, in 1975 on air traffic, in 1981 on technical cooperation, and in 2010 on the entry, residence and return of persons.

Treaty database

Development cooperation

Switzerland’s presence in Benin dates back to 1981 when the country entered into a cooperation agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Benin 2017-2020 focuses on rural economic development, local governance and decentralisation, basic education and vocational education and training. The SDC supports private and public stakeholders with their poverty reduction efforts, especially in the departments of Borgou and Alibori in the north-east of the country. The budget support which Benin had received from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) until 2009 encouraged the national government to reform public expenditure flows.

Switzerland's financial commitment to Benin amounted to CHF 20 million in 2017.

Development cooperation

Swiss nationals in Benin

At the end of 2016, there were 86 Swiss nationals living in Benin.

History of bilateral relations

Benin attained independence on 1 August 1960. Switzerland has recognised Benin since its independence and the two states established diplomatic relations that same year. These relations were managed initially from the embassy in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), later from the embassy in Abuja (Nigeria), and are managed today from the embassy in Accra (Ghana). In 1964 Benin established a consulate in Switzerland.
Since Benin's independence the two countries have been working together in the area of development. This cooperation has become more intensive and formal since 1981. That year the two countries concluded a framework agreement governing their cooperation and in 1983 Switzerland opened its cooperation office in Cotonou.
In 2011 Switzerland and Benin celebrated 30 years of cooperation with a number of anniversary events in Parakou and Cotonou.
In 1894 Benin became a French colony and was called the Republic of Dahomey until 1975.

Benin, historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)