Dear friend of Switzerland
Thank you for your interest in our activities, or more generally, in the footprint of Switzerland in South Africa. I would like to welcome you in our virtual home and hope that this website will provide you with the necessary information and give you the guidance you are looking for.
On one hand, the website should give you an idea of our activities in South Africa, which are shaped by a variety of strong commitments of the Swiss government. The Swiss presence in South Africa can be regarded as important and goes far beyond strictly diplomatic relations.
We host for instance a very dynamic team from the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO), which sees in South Africa one of only eight priority partner countries in the South and is engaged in different economic development cooperation projects intended to foster a sustainable, inclusive and competitive economy. On the economic front, we also house the only Swiss Business Hub on the African continent, busy with the promotion of Switzerland as a business location and assisting Swiss firms interested in exporting to Southern African markets. Considering that South Africa is Switzerland’s most important trade partner on the African continent, you can be assured that they don’t run out of work. Since Switzerland and South Africa have concluded an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation in 2007, we are also coordinating various collaborations in the field of research and innovation. I hope you will find the relevant information relative those activities on our website.
On the other hand, the embassy is also home of the Regional Consular Center for the whole Southern Africa. The center is responsible for South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe and takes care of an important colony of Swiss citizen. It is also worth mentioning that the Cape region and Namibia is administrated by a separate Consulate, located in the city of Cape Town. If you are looking for advice in consular affairs, you should be able to find further clarification on the section of the Website dedicated to the center.
Finally, you should also find general information about the longstanding and important ties that link our countries. These ties are above everything of a human nature, given that there are 9000 Swiss citizen based in South Africa, with more or less two third having the double citizenship. There could hardly be a nicer proof for our common history. Economically too, South Africa stands out as a partner for Switzerland. It is not only, as mentioned above, the most important trade partner on the continent, since it hosts also more than 100 Swiss companies operating on its soil and attracts considerable investment from Switzerland. On top of that, there is a Pro Helvetia antenna in Johannesburg, bringing local and Swiss culture together and fostering exchange in various creative fields.
In all those matters and much more, the website should be helpful, its purpose is to be informative, to simplify processes and to strengthen communication with our partners. If nevertheless, you need further assistance, you are more than welcome to leave the virtual world and visit us in person. This is particularly true for the Consular Center, which will help you if required. And if you want to learn more about Switzerland as such, don’t forget that there is nothing better than a visit of the country itself.
I wish you a pleasant browsing and want you to know that my team is at your disposal, virtually or on a personal level.
Ambassador of Switzerland to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia and Swaziland
Helene Budliger Artieda