Switzerland and Ghana maintain good relations and can look back on a long-standing exchange which has been fruitful for both countries. The focal points of these relations are the flourishing trade, particularly in precious metals, cocoa and the economic cooperation.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Ghana
Main aspects of diplomatic relations
In 2017, the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo received the sitting President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard in Accra on the occasion of a state visit. Earlier in 2017, the President of Ghana and Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann met in Geneva during the Africa CEO Forum. In 2007, the then President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, officially visited Ghana, and Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills was received in Switzerland on a state visit in 2010. Former Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh also visited Bern in 2015 for official talks.
The Swiss embassy supports Ghana with a number of projects in the areas of good governance and conflict prevention, thus demonstrating its appreciation for Ghana's democratic culture and its leading role in this respect.
Switzerland and Ghana have concluded a number of bilateral agreements: in 1991 on the promotion and protection of investments, in July 2008 on the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and assets and in August 2010 on air traffic routes and intellectual property rights. In 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding was concluded in order to formalize the holding of yearly political consultations.
Ghana is Switzerland's most important trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa: in 2016 Switzerland had a volume of trade with Ghana amounting to CHF 2.38 billions (CHF 2.31 billions in imports, CHF 34.2 million in exports). In this context it is working to improve human rights compliance in Ghana's extractive industries sector. Ghana is, in particular, Switzerland's most important supplier of cocoa and its second most important supplier of pineapple.
Swiss exports to Ghana consist largely of machinery, in particular equipment for food processing (grain processing, cocoa, chocolate) and pharmaceutical products.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Students from Ghana also have an opportunity to take part in the MOOCs (massive open online courses) organised by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Four thousand students signed up for these courses in 2016.
Scholars and artists from Ghana can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Promotion of peace and human security
Switzerland supports the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Teshie (Accra).
The Swiss contribution to KAIPTC supports the organisation in fulfilling its function as a competence centre for civil and military peacekeeping. The centre conducts research and offers training programmes. Since 2003 KAIPTC has held more than 170 courses covering a wide variety of peacekeeping topics.
Ghana has been considered a middle-income country since 2010. It is one of the main partner countries of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with respect to economic cooperation. SECO's support has the aim of contributing to sustainable economic growth and to the fight against poverty. One special focus is on support for Ghana in integrating its economy in the world's markets and seizing the opportunities offered by globalisation while defusing its negative effects.
The cooperation concentrates on the following areas:
- Macroeconomics:General budgetary assistance and the associated technical assistance in public finance management
- Private sector: Improvement of the business and investment climate and the introduction of innovative types of financing
- Trade promotion: Development of trade policy framework conditions and strengthening of the value-added chain for export goods
- Infrastructure: Measures in the electricity sector to improve the operational efficiency of Ghana's leading public electricity supplier and to extend its reach to disadvantaged, poor regions.
Swiss nationals in Ghana
At the end of 2016, there were 435 Swiss nationals living in Ghana.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised the Republic of Ghana on 6 March 1957, the day independence was declared. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1960.
However, a Swiss presence in Ghana goes back much further: as early as 1828 Swiss missionaries from the Basel Mission settled in what was known then as the Gold Coast. The work of the Basel Mission lives on today in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and its schools and hospitals. The missionaries were also responsible for bringing the cocoa plant to Ghana, and today 47% of the cocoa used to manufacture chocolate comes from Ghana.