Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kenya

Switzerland has had an official presence in Kenya since the country's independence in 1963. Switzerland's work initially focused on development cooperation, but has since expanded into many other areas, including trade, combating corruption, and promoting human rights. Under the Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24, Kenya is important on two levels. It is a core part of the Greater Horn of Africa, which is defined as a priority area in the strategy. It is also considered to be an economic powerhouse or 'lion economy'.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Kenya plays an important role in ensuring political stability in East Africa. Kenya's position on the Horn of Africa enables it to undertake humanitarian operations in the region. Switzerland partners with other states to improve governance and respect for human rights in Kenya. It also maintains economic and cultural ties with the country.

The United Nations Office at Nairobi is the UN headquarters in Africa and one of its four main offices worldwide. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) are also based in Nairobi.

In 2022, a memorandum of understanding was signed with a view to stepping up bilateral dialogue. Switzerland and Kenya also engage in regular political consultations.

Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 (PDF, 48 Pages, 3.1 MB, English)

Treaty database

Economic cooperation

Kenya is East Africa's largest economy and an important economic partner for Switzerland. The Federal Council's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 describes Kenya as a 'lion economy' because of its economic potential. Despite its diversified economy, some 75% of the population still work in agriculture. The country's main exports are flowers, tea and coffee. The volume of trade between the two countries was CHF 156 million in 2023. Switzerland primarily imports agricultural products from Kenya and exports pharmaceutical and chemical products to the country. Some 50 Swiss companies operate in Kenya.

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise SGE

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The Horn of Africa cooperation programme 2022–25 takes a comprehensive approach, combining humanitarian and development cooperation instruments with political and diplomatic measures and migration and security instruments. The programme, which focuses primarily on Somalia and the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya and Ethiopia, is based around projects on governance, food security and rural development, health, migration and protection. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's regional office for the Horn of Africa, which is based in Nairobi, is responsible for implementing the programme. 

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss nationals in Kenya

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 826 Swiss citizens were living in Kenya and 1,531 Kenyan citizens were living in Switzerland at the end of 2022. Kenya's national parks and beaches make it a much-loved tourist destination for Swiss people.