Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Burundi are modest and are primarily characterised by development cooperation and Switzerland's involvement in Burundi's peace process.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Burundi
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Swiss diplomacy in Burundi is mainly focused on development and peacebuilding.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland played a significant role in helping the warring parties in Burundi's civil war reach a ceasefire agreement.
It is actively participating in the UN Peacebuilding Commission and currently chairs the Commission's Burundi Configuration.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Burundi is part of the SDC's "Great Lakes" special programme. Switzerland is seeking to respond effectively to the complexity of the political, security, humanitarian and development-related challenges faced by the region through the coordinated use of three instruments of foreign policy – development assistance, the promotion of peace and human rights, and humanitarian aid.
Assistance is targeted primarily at peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, as well as humanitarian and social issues.
Swiss nationals in Burundi
As at the end of 2015, 50 Swiss nationals were living in Burundi.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Burundi in 1962, on the day independence was declared. A Swiss consulate was maintained in the capital city of Bujumbura from 1972 to 1990.
The bilateral agreement on development cooperation of 1969 involved support for teacher seminars, the social sciences and economics faculty, and various projects in the areas of public works, crafts, healthcare, social housing and agricultural development. Since 1986 this agreement has enabled Switzerland to participate financially in the structural adjustment programme.
The conflict between ethnic groups from 1972 to 1988 that resulted in the massacre of thousands of people led to the suspension of development cooperation, and Switzerland limited its efforts to humanitarian aid from the 1990s. Following elections in 2004, Burundi was admitted to a new development aid programme, which in 2006 was extended to the entire Great Lakes region in East Africa.