Niger and Switzerland enjoy very good bilateral relations founded upon a cooperation partnership going back more than 35 years and, more recently, partnership in the domain of peace promotion and sub-regional stability.
Switzerland’s commitment in Niger is focused on rural development, education and vocational training, and local governance. In 2013, a budget of CHF 15 million was earmarked for Niger. The Swiss delegation assured the Nigerien Minister of State of its support in contributing to the resolution of emergency situations so as to provide long-term support for the country’s development efforts.
Niger is confronted with recurring food crises. To support Niger’s initiatives aimed at responding effectively and sustainably to these crises, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) contributes to the National System for the Prevention and Resolution of Food Crisis. This support includes the financing of capacity-building of personnel and the improvement of management tools, setting up an early alert system, and bolstering grain stocks. The SDC also promotes activities to enable the agro-pastoral sector to become more productive, thereby strengthening the resilience of the populations affected by food crises. Since the beginning of 2012, Switzerland has spent nearly CHF 8 million to respond to the food crisis in Niger, which is one of the Nigerien government’s primary concerns.
Since 2010, Switzerland has been active in fostering reconciliation and promoting peace in Niger. Up until 2011, it supported the work of the National Commission for the Collection and Control of Illicit Weapons. Today, it continues to support the High Authority for Peacebuilding (HACP) in the organisation of fora and in the formulation of a strategic framework enabling this High Authority to effectively fulfil its mandate for sustainable peace in Niger.
On the regional level, Switzerland hailed the vital contributions of Niger to the resolution of the crisis in Mali. The two delegations, both of whose countries participate in the International Follow-up and Evaluation Committee of the 18 June 2013 Ouagadougou Accords, agreed on the importance of the commitment and determination of the new Malian authorities to achieve a sustainable resolution to the Mali crisis with the support of the international and regional community.
The discussions also made it possible to review the domestic political situation of Niger, and to assess its economic and security situation. While welcoming the progress made in the domain of governance, the two parties voiced their preoccupation with the evolution of the security situation in the Sahel-Sahara zone. In this context, Switzerland pointed out its international efforts aimed at countering the terrorist threat.
In winding up his official visit, Minister of State Mohamed Bazoum expressed his appreciation for the welcome accorded him and the gratitude of the Nigerien government and Nigerien people to State Secretary Rossier and the Federal Council for the multifaceted support that Switzerland has provided to Niger. He underscored his confidence in the productive partnership created to support Niger in reaching its economic and social objectives, embodied in Switzerland’s substantial commitment to the implementation of Niger’s Economic and Social Development Plan 2012–2015.
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