Swiss-Tanzanian relations are cordial and reflect a long history of mutually fruitful interaction. The some 30 Swiss companies represented in Tanzania, the approximately 250 members of the Swiss community, and a substantial co-operation programme of the Swiss Government are the main pillars of these relations.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Political relations are basically trouble-free but not very intensive. The embassy conducts a special programme to support cultural exchange, as well as the enhancement of cultural identity in Tanzania.
Tanzania belongs to the category of “least developed countries”. Bilateral relations with Switzerland concern primarily the sizeable contribution of approx. USD 24 million that is provided annually by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in support of Tanzania’s poverty reduction strategy.
Trade between the two countries is negligable in traditional commodities physically traded. Today, the Tanzanian economy relies on considerable Swiss know-how in tourism and hospitality, international forwarding, and commodity trading. A direct air link between Zurich and Dar es Salaam has been operating for over 40 years and facilitates bilateral contacts, especially with regard to trade and investment, as well as tourism.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The current five-year cooperation programme of Switzerland in Tanzania covers three main areas of thematic focus:
- Health – equitable access to and use of quality health services.
- Employment and Income – agricultural growth that is pro-poor and in which men and women are equally involved.
- Governance – promoting social cohesion as well as transparent and accountable state systems
The Swiss Cooperation Office in Dar es Salaam is part of the Swiss Embassy. Tanzania is a priority country for Switzerland’s federal scholarship programme.
Since the 1950s, Swiss nongovernmental organizations, researchers and specialists have been providing technical and financial assistance; in 1981 Tanzania became a priority country for official Swiss development assistance.
Swiss nationals in Tanzania
The Swiss community in Tanzania counts 256 members (2019).
History of bilateral relations
Swiss missionaries (Baldegg sisters, Capuchin brothers), farmers and businesspeople have been active in the territory that is now Tanzania since the 1920s. In 1927 Switzerland opened a consulate in the coastal city of Tanga, where the bulk of Swiss investment in the sisal industry was concentrated. Relocated to Dar es Salaam in 1961, a year later it was upgraded to a general consulate and in 1966 to an embassy.
In 1961 Switzerland recognized the independence of Tanganyika and in 1963 that of Zanzibar. After the two countries united to become the Republic of Tanzania in 1964, fully fledged diplomatic relations were established.
Switzerland and Tanzania have signed a series of treaties to bolster bilateral relations, notably on technical and scientific cooperation (1966), civil aviation (2004), and mutual investment protection (2004) and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (2016).