Welcome Message from Ambassador Ralf Heckner

Dr. Ralf Heckner
Dr. Ralf Heckner © FDFA

Karibuni Sana! Welcome to the website of the Embassy of Switzerland in Nairobi

The Embassy of Switzerland in Nairobi is in charge of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Kenya, as well as Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Somalia. In other words, Nairobi can be considered the Swiss diplomatic hub for a greater part of East Africa and the Great Lakes Region. Furthermore, the Embassy also assumes multilateral mandates.

Bilaterally, we handle a number of diverse issues ranging from political, economic and cultural relations with our host countries to development cooperation and humanitarian activities in the wider region. Close collaboration with government and private sector representatives, as well as civil society, but also of the Swiss communities in these countries, are also pivotal aspects of our work. My staff and I feel privileged to serve in countries with long-standing and close ties to Switzerland. Kenya, for example, is a favourite tourist destination for Swiss citizens, with many also coming here due to the rich economic opportunities or settling to build a new life in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region. Consequently, for me as Swiss Ambassador, deepening existing bilateral relations with our host countries and proactive cooperation with the Swiss community are key priorities.

Multilaterally, due to my mandate as Switzerland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, my focus lies on environmental policies and related global challenges. Switzerland has a longstanding tradition of multilateral engagement in the region through its partnership with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, including its role as Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission’s Burundi Configuration, managed by our Permanent Representative in New York.

The Embassy’s website aims to be a resource for our Swiss citizens living abroad, as well as anyone interested in learning more about Switzerland; be it for travel, business, study, or just out of curiosity. My dedicated Consular staff in Nairobi, Kigali and Mombasa, as well as the Swiss Honorary Consul in Kampala, are at your service. In addition, I would also invite you to explore Switzerland’s development programmes managed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) offices in Bujumbura, Kigali and Nairobi; the latter leading SDC’s Horn of Africa programme. As this website is embedded in the online portal of the Swiss Federal Administration, you may also navigate through a wealth of information on other topics of interest.

Our service to you as Swiss citizens – back home or abroad – doesn’t end here. Neither does it for you as Kenyan, Burundian, Rwandan, Somalian or Ugandan visitors interested in the various ties between our countries. If you can’t find what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the staff at the Embassy. We look forward to serving you to the best of our ability.

Ralf Heckner

Ambassador of Switzerland