Relations between Switzerland and Mozambique are good. Mozambique is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. Switzerland supported Mozambique in dealing with the legacy of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1976 to 1992. The country's economic potential provides Swiss companies with new trade and investment opportunities.
Bilateral relations between Switzerland–Mozambique
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Mozambique established diplomatic relations in 1976, just after the country gained its independence. Since then, high-level official visits have regularly taken place between the two countries.
As part of its peace policy, Switzerland provided Mozambique with humanitarian and development aid to help it deal with the consequences of the 1976–92 civil war. Since then, Mozambique has faced a smouldering conflict between FRELIMO, the sole governing party since independence, and RENAMO, the main opposition party, which has participated in the country's political life despite its refusal to put down its arms. Since the beginning of 2017, Switzerland has chaired a contact group of seven members which is helping the two parties to the conflict to reach a lasting peace agreement.
Following 15 years of economic stability with an annual growth rate of about 7%, Mozambique is now experiencing an economic and financial crisis that is partly linked to the country's high level of indebtedness. Nevertheless, Mozambique's favourable geographic situation, its natural resources (fertile land, coal, etc.) and above all its natural gas reserves, which have not been fully exploited, give the country considerable economic potential.
Several Swiss companies have set up operations in Mozambique in recent years, signalling growing interest in the country. In this context, the Swiss embassy in Maputo set up the Swiss Mozambican Business Network in 2013, which officially became the Swiss-Mozambican Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
A trade agreement concluded in 1979 and a bilateral agreement on investment promotion and protection concluded in 2002 form the basis for the development of economic relations between the two countries.
Switzerland mainly imports agricultural products such as tobacco, as well as precious stones and metals, from Mozambique. It primarily exports pharmaceutical products and medical equipment to Mozambique.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Mozambique can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Mozambique is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. The cooperation programme focuses on three main areas: economic development, health and local governance. Switzerland supports local projects, primarily in the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula. At the national level, Switzerland supports the government in carrying out institutional reforms in various sectors.
Swiss nationals in Mozambique
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 149 Swiss nationals are currently living in Mozambique.
History of bilateral relations
On 30 October 1974, the Federal Council recognised Mozambique's independence, which was officially declared on 24 June 1975. In 1977, Switzerland opened an embassy in Maputo. Bilateral development cooperation between the two countries was initiated in 1979.
The roots of Swiss cooperation with Mozambique go back to the 1880s, when the Missão Suiça (Swiss Mission) was founded. Swiss missionaries won wide recognition in Mozambique for their work to improve social conditions: besides hospitals, they built schools where they also taught in local languages, which led to disagreements with the Portuguese colonial authorities. Some of the pupils taught by the missionaries would go on to become influential figures in Mozambique, such as Eduardo Mondlane, co-founder and president of the Frelimo party.