Switzerland and Nigeria enjoy good bilateral relations. These close relations are bolstered by high-level political meetings and institutionalised dialogues.
Bilateral Relations Switzerland–Nigeria
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland has set out a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for 2021–24.
Nigeria is a lion economy. Such African economies harbour great economic potential, particularly in terms of investment and trade, and demonstrate dynamic growth.
Relations between Switzerland and Nigeria focus on economic cooperation, migration issues, humanitarian aid, human rights, and peace promotion. These topics are discussed in depth at high-level meetings, as well as during political consultations and as part of annual dialogues on migration and human rights.
Nigeria is a major trading partner for Switzerland in Africa. While Nigeria exports mainly crude oil to Switzerland, Switzerland's main exports to Nigeria are pharmaceuticals and machinery. Switzerland has a large negative trade balance with Nigeria due to oil imports. Over 50 Swiss companies are active in Nigeria, mainly in the south of the country. They have made direct investments amounting to approximately USD 550 million and employ over 7,000 people.
Switzerland opened a consulate general in Lagos in 2016, which also serves as a point of contact for trading matters.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers who are citizens of Nigeria can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Measures to promote peace and human security
Since 2011, Switzerland and Nigeria have maintained a human rights dialogue on an annual basis. This bilateral exchange is accompanied by concrete projects in areas such as policing procedures and access to justice, which are implemented with the Nigerian authorities and with civil society organisations.
Switzerland's peace policy's work in Nigeria is mainly focused on the northeast of the country (good offices made available, assistance in dealing with the past, and prevention of violent extremism).
From 2017 to 2021, Nigeria and Switzerland co-chaired the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Since 2014, Switzerland has been providing humanitarian aid to the population affected by the armed conflict in the Lake Chad region. It provides financial support to the ICRC, the UN and various NGOs, in particular for food security, protection, and education in emergencies.
Swiss citizens in Nigeria
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 210 Swiss citizens were living in Nigeria at the end of 2020 and 2,191 Nigerian citizens were living in Switzerland.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 1 October 1960, the day the country declared its independence from the United Kingdom. Shortly thereafter, the two countries established diplomatic relations. Switzerland opened an embassy in Lagos a year later.
In 2001, Switzerland moved its embassy to the new capital, Abuja. In 2016, it opened a consulate general in Lagos.