Bilateral relations Switzerland–Botswana

A respected partner in international forums, Botswana has succeeded in creating favourable conditions for further economic development. The headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are located in the capital of Botswana.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

High-level contacts have remained seldom. Switzerland’s commitment to Botswana focuses on development cooperation and the promotion of peace.

Bilateral agreements

Economic cooperation

Aside from the acquisition of capital goods by the government, direct trade between the two countries remains at a modest level since Swiss products sold in Botswana are imported via South Africa. Botswana is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which has concluded a free-trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

A number of Swiss companies that are active in South Africa have opened branches in Botswana, which is hoping to diversify its economy, in particular, by encouraging growth in the financial services industry.

Botswana hosted a “Business Week” for the first time in 2013 for the purpose of establishing contact with Swiss companies.

Trade promotion (Swizterland Global Enterprise)

Cooperation in the domain of education

The Swiss government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students, has awarded ten study grants for the 2013–2014 academic year to doctoral students from southern Africa.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Peacebuilding and human security

Botswana is a member of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), which was established upon a Swiss initiative in 2000.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) conducts a regional programme for southern Africa and develops some of its projects in cooperation with the SADC.

Through the SDC, Switzerland participates in the “Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative” (REPSSI), whose purpose is to ensure that children affected by AIDS, poverty, and conflicts have access to care and psychosocial support.

The “New Seed Initiative for Maize in southern Africa” seeks to improve food security for farmers in Botswana by developing and promoting new varieties of seeds that produce better yields and have a higher nutritional value.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss nationals in Botswana

At the end of 2015, there were 64 Swiss citizens living in Botswana. Switzerland has appointed an honorary consul who resides in the capital, Gaborone.

History of bilateral relations

The Federal Council recognised the independence of the former British protectorate of Bechuanaland, under the name of Botswana, in 1966. Diplomatic relations were established in 1967 with the appointment of Switzerland’s ambassador in Pretoria. Botswana is represented in Switzerland by its Geneva-based ambassador to the international organisations.

Entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)