Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Rwanda were for many years dominated by development cooperation. Today the two countries intend to broaden and intensify this relationship.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Rwanda
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Relations with Rwanda are good, having evolved over many years of development cooperation. Both countries are committed to deepening and diversifying their bilateral relations. This was underscored by an official visit of Rwanda's foreign minister to Bern in 2017 and two meetings at presidential level in 2018, which added further momentum to the relationship. For the future, the two countries aim to establish a regular exchange on issues of mutual interest.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Rwanda can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Rwanda is part of the 'Great Lakes' strategy, which also includes Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Within this framework, Switzerland is involved in coordinated implementation of development cooperation, humanitarian aid, the promotion of peace and human rights, and diplomacy.
The focus in Rwanda is on development cooperation. The core areas of Switzerland's engagement are support for public health systems and countering violence against women, as well as vocational education and training, job creation and economic development. Switzerland is also committed to improving the media landscape and good governance.
Swiss nationals in Rwanda
As at end of 2017, there were 95 Swiss nationals living in Rwanda.
History of bilateral relations
Rwanda gained independence in 1962 and was immediately recognised by Switzerland. Rwanda became a priority country for Swiss development aid in 1963. In the same year, Swiss nationals first became personal advisers to the country's president. Switzerland maintained an embassy in the capital Kigali between 1970 and 1985.
Following the genocide of 1994, Switzerland halted its development cooperation, turning its attention to delivering humanitarian aid for victims. Four years later it resumed its cooperation activities. In 2004, the special programme for national reconciliation and democratisation was extended by four years. Switzerland has been working in Rwanda as part of a regional programme since 2009. The Swiss embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, has diplomatic responsibility for Rwanda.