The Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997) was under Belgian colonial rule (“Belgian Congo”) up to 1960. Although its colonisation under the reign of King Leopold II (1865–1909) received Swiss support, religious and intellectual circles, mainly in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, campaigned at the same time against slavery, founding the “Société suisse de secours aux esclaves africains” in 1908.
The two world wars saw tremendous growth in economic and financial exchanges between the two countries. Switzerland opened a consulate in Leopoldville (present-day Kinshasa) in 1928. It was upgraded to a consulate general in 1958 and was made an embassy in 1962. Switzerland recognized the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1960, after the departure of the Belgian colonial power.
Technical assistance was initiated and in 1972 two agreements governing trade and the protection of investments were concluded. However it was not possible to carry out the projects planned due to the political situation in Zaire under President Mobutu.
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)