Switzerland and Azerbaijan enjoy good political and economic relations based on a broad range of common interests. Cooperation in international financial institutions, development cooperation and energy policy are key aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Azerbaijan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Azerbaijan belongs to the voting constituencies chaired by Switzerland in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Switzerland attaches great importance to promoting good governance and private sector development in Azerbaijan. Since 1999 it has also engaged in technical and economic cooperation with the country.
Azerbaijan is Switzerland's main trading partner in the South Caucasus. Switzerland mainly exports jewellery products (precious stones, precious metals), machinery, watches, security printing products and pharmaceutical products to Azerbaijan. In 2019, trade between Switzerland and Azerbaijan amounted to CHF 287 million, a year-on-year increase of CHF 50 million. Switzerland is also one of the largest investors in the non-oil sector and supports Azerbaijan's efforts to diversify its economy. A Swiss company is involved in the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is expected to transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Italy by the end of 2020.
The Azerbaijani state-owned energy company SOCAR has a subsidiary in Switzerland. In 2012, SOCAR Energy took over ESSO Switzerland's network of 172 petrol stations.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Azerbaijan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
In Azerbaijan, Switzerland promotes:
- a more favourable business environment, including a better investment climate
- a modern, transparent financial sector
- better public services and governance
- the economic empowerment of women
- local art and culture
The Swiss Cooperation Strategy for South Caucasus 2017–20 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) focuses on economic development, good governance and the rule of law as well as peacebuilding. The total budget for the strategy covering the three countries amounts to approximately CHF 75 million.
The Swiss embassy supports and participates in various projects and events to promote Switzerland and Swiss culture, including film festivals, the 'Francophonie week' and the 'Settimana della lingua italiana'. Azerbaijan also benefits from the SDC's regional art and culture programme in the South Caucasus.
Swiss citizens in Azerbaijan
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 32 Swiss citizens living in Azerbaijan at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Azerbaijan as an independent state on 23 December 1991. In October 2005, Azerbaijan opened an embassy in Bern. Switzerland opened a cooperation office in Baku in 2001 and an embassy in late 2007, which was officially inaugurated in May 2008.