Strategy Southern Africa

The Swiss regional programme in Southern Africa contributes to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability. With its engagement, Switzerland contributes to enhanced food security for smallholder farmers and to the reduction of new HIV infections.

Southern Africa is a region of great contrasts and the most stable region of the continent. Diverging economic growth patterns, high rates of unemployment, weak commodity prices, fiscal strain, increasing debt, and high inflation contribute to a cautious economic outlook for the region. Governance crisis and corruption weaken political structures and linked with widespread inequality lead to violence and insecurity.

Switzerland’s support focuses on two major issues: the reduction of new HIV among young people and enhancing food security for smallholder farmers, by increasing their resilience and improving seeds availability and diversity. Humanitarian aid is provided on an ad hoc basis, in response to specific crises or natural disasters.

Switzerland's support aims to reinforce policy at the national level of seven selected countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and facilitate the development and implementation of regional standards on these different issues.

The SADC is composed of 16 member states (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Its Secretariat is in Botswana. The Swiss regional programme in Southern Africa focusses country interventions on Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Eswatini. Its cooperation office is in Harare. 

In line with the new Swiss International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 the programme is transitioning towards a two-country programme with focus on Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Highlights of the four coming years 2013-2016

The regional programme Southern Africa will combine both instruments of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.

SDC will improve its articulation of its regional approach with its country offices, the global programmes and UN agencies active in the region and supported by SDC.
In view of the limited means of SDC, the concentration on two out of previously three domains of intervention will increase its efficiency and effectiveness:

  • Agriculture/Food security: Increased resilience in food security in particular of smallholder farmers in SADC region with a focus on the promotion of a harmonised seed system, post harvest management and Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • HIV/AIDS: Prevention of HIV/AIDS among young women and men and access to care and support to contribute to the overall goal of reducing HIV/AIDS incidence and vulnerabilities in particular among children and youth.
  • Governance (equitable, responsible and accountable allocation and use of public resources in the two domains) and gender (agriculture women farmers, vulnerability of women and girls in HIV/AIDS) will be tackled as transversal themes.

In the regional Programme Southern Africa (RPSA) the approach will bring together regional policy interventions and their translation into selected countries where also interventions on the ground and pilots are taking place. The component in Zimbabwe will contribute to the regional objectives in agriculture/food security and HIV/AIDS. Water, as a key component of food and health security, will be also addressed. Part of the flexible budget will be allocated to health or governance issues in a broader perspective depending on the context’s evolution.

Beyond the RPSA, the Global Programme Climate Change will increase its mitigation portfolio focused on South Africa.