Bilateral relations Switzerland–Eswatini

Relations between Switzerland and Eswatini are good, but are not very intensive. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation conducts activities in the country within the framework of its regional programme for Southern Africa.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Eswatini is represented out of Brussels, with an honorary consul general in Zurich.

Bilateral treaties

Economic cooperation

Direct trade between the two countries is at a very modest level, as Swiss products sold in Eswatini are imported via South Africa. Eswatini is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (together with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia), and a partner to the free trade agreement concluded by that organisation with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Cooperation in the domain of education

Scholars and artists from Eswatini can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Peacebuilding and human security

Through the SDC, Switzerland participates in efforts to strengthen electoral and democratic processes in the countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), of which Eswatini is a member. In partnership with the electoral commission, civil society organisations, political parties, and the Parliament, the overall objective of this project is to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the SADC secretariat and the parties involved in the electoral process (electoral commission, political parties, and civil society) so that elections are held in a peaceful, democratic, and credible manner.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The SDC supports the “New Seed Initiative for Maize in Southern Africa”, the overall objective of which is to improve food security for farmers in Eswatini by developing and promoting new varieties of seeds.

Together with various local partners, Switzerland also supports a programme for the prevention of AIDS among young people between the ages of 10 and 24. The purpose of the programme is to lower the incidence of infection with the AIDS virus in this segment of the population and to improve the quality of life for young people afflicted by the disease.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss nationals in Eswatini

As of the end of 2015, 39 Swiss nationals were living in Eswatini.

History of bilateral relations

The Federal Council recognised the independence of  Eswatini (former Swaziland), a former British protectorate, in 1968, and accredited the Swiss ambassador in Pretoria (South Africa) to represent Switzerland before the King of Eswatini.

In 1986, two Swiss nationals were kidnapped in Eswatini by members of the South African military. Diplomatic efforts succeeded in obtaining their release and an apology was issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa.

Entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)