Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Algeria are good, covering a diverse range of areas such as migration, new technologies, sustainable development, economic affairs and culture. The two countries have concluded more than 30 agreements.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Algeria
On 14 October 2020 the Federal Council adopted a specific strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA Strategy) for the 2021–24 period. It identifies five thematic priorities: peace, security and human rights; migration and protection of people in need; sustainable development; economic affairs, finance, science; and digitalisation and new technologies.
These priorities are weighted differently across the various regions and countries. In North Africa, Switzerland's activities focus on good governance, sustainable economic development and cooperation in the area of migration. The political upheavals of 2011 have paved the way for a long transition process in North Africa. Switzerland's commitment is aimed mainly at supporting these countries in their political, economic and social transition. Switzerland supports reforms aimed at improving economic prospects and increasing civic participation.
Switzerland's focus in Algeria
The MENA Strategy identifies three focus areas for Algeria: migration and protection of people in need, digitalisation and new technologies, and sustainable development.
1. Migration and protection of people in need
Switzerland maintains a regular dialogue on migration to ensure consistent implementation of the agreement signed with Algeria. At the same time, it implements local projects aimed at helping migrants into employment.
2. Digitalisation and new technologies
Switzerland is working with the Algerian government as part of its international cooperation projects to identify areas in which it can support the country's reform efforts, for example in digitalisation, innovation and dual vocational education and training.
3. Sustainable development
Switzerland relies on the complementary roles of Algeria for trilateral South–South cooperation projects with countries in the Sahel on issues such as migration, peace support and security.
Other areas of cooperation
In 2020 Switzerland's imports from Algeria stood at CHF 68 million while Swiss exports came to CHF 274 million, with total trade amounting to CHF 342 million.
A bilateral agreement on the protection of investments and the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation have helped to increase legal certainty in economic and trade relations between the two countries. The two countries have also concluded an agreement on the movement of persons (entry into force 2006) and an agreement on the promotion and mutual protection of investments (entry into force 2004).
Education, training, research and innovation
Researchers and artists who are citizens of Algeria can apply for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Cultural exchanges between the two countries are facilitated by their geographical proximity as well as by the use of French as a shared language. Switzerland regularly participates in events to promote the French language as part of the International Day of La Francophonie and in Italian culture week (Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo).
Switzerland also contributes to various film and music festivals and is involved in the international annual book fair in Algiers.
Swiss nationals in Algeria
In 2020, there were 498 Swiss citizens living in Algeria.
History of bilateral relations
During the Algerian War (1954–62), Switzerland mediated between the conflicting parties. Following secret meetings held in Lucerne and Neuchâtel, the accords which ended the war and paved the way for Algeria's independence were signed in Evian in March 1962. Switzerland has maintained an embassy in Algiers since that year. A new embassy building was inaugurated in 2015.