Switzerland and Benin enjoy good bilateral relations, focused mainly on development cooperation.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Benin
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland has drawn up a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2021–24.
Switzerland is represented in Cotonou by a cooperation office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and a consular agency.
During a presidential visit to Switzerland in 2018, President Patrice Talon met with the then-president of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset.
Switzerland and Benin have concluded a series of bilateral agreements on trade, investment protection and technical cooperation (1966), air transport (1975), technical cooperation (1981) and the entry, residence and return of persons (2010).
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers who are citizens of Benin can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland has been present in Benin since 1981, when Benin signed a cooperation agreement with the SDC.
A new Swiss cooperation programme for Benin for the period 2022–25 is currently being finalised. National priorities and Switzerland's added value in development cooperation underscore the continued relevance of current thematic priorities (rural economic development, local governance, decentralisation, basic education and vocational training), particularly in inland and border areas such as the departments of Atacora and Donga.
Swiss citizens in Benin
According to statistics of the Swiss abroad, 64 Swiss nationals were living in Benin in 2020 and 315 Beninese were living in Switzerland.
History of bilateral relations
Benin gained independence on 1 August 1960, which was immediately recognised by Switzerland, and the two countries established diplomatic relations in the same year. The Swiss embassy in Accra, Ghana, is currently responsible for bilateral relations with Benin.
Switzerland has been engaged in development cooperation with Benin since the country gained its independence. Cooperation increased from 1981, after the two countries concluded a formal framework agreement. In 1983, Switzerland opened a cooperation office in Cotonou.
In 2021, Switzerland and Benin celebrated 40 years of cooperation.
Benin was a French colony from 1894, before it had gained its independence, and was called the Republic of Dahomey until 1975.