Relations between Switzerland and Bolivia are good, particularly in the area of development cooperation. Bolivia is a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Bolivia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The SDC has been active in Bolivia for over 40 years. As part of its cooperation strategy, the SDC carries out projects in the areas of decentralisation and human rights, climate change mitigation, and employment and income. Since 2013 consular matters have been handled by the regional consular centre for the Andes in Lima.
Switzerland and Bolivia have agreements covering investment protection, air transport, and technical and scientific cooperation.
Trade between the two countries is relatively modest. In 2016, Switzerland imported goods – primarily agricultural and mining products – worth CHF 9.3 million from Bolivia. Swiss exports to Bolivia – machines, medical instruments and pharmaceutical products – amounted to CHF 33.3 million in 2016.
Swiss direct investments in Bolivia amounted to CHF 72 million at the end of 2015. Swiss companies in Bolivia currently employ about 1,100 people.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Bolivia can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Swiss development cooperation is tailored to the Bolivian government’s poverty reduction priorities. Development cooperation is aimed at improving incomes, employment opportunities and the quality of life of marginalised and poor segments of the population and the related goal of promoting greater participation in political decision-making processes.
The SDC is above all active in the rural regions of the Bolivian highlands and nearby valleys. Owing to the rapid urbanisation that has taken place in recent decades, the SDC’s activities now focus not only on rural areas but also on the poverty-stricken districts of Bolivia's cities. The SDC’s development cooperation programmes address three aspects in relation to poverty reduction:
- Employment and income
- Climate change mitigation
- Decentralisation and human rights
Swiss nationals in Bolivia
At the end of 2017 there were 1,180 Swiss nationals living in Bolivia.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland opened a consulate general in Bolivia in 1935 and a diplomatic representation in 1962. Switzerland has maintained consular relations with this Andean nation since 1911, and initiated diplomatic relations in 1946. The SDC has been active in Bolivia since 1968.