History of Swiss Development Cooperation with Indonesia

Switzerland and Indonesia established diplomatic relations in 1951. Development Cooperation between Indonesia and Switzerland began in the 1960s and a legal framework for technical cooperation was established in 1971.

PolyteknikMekanikSwiss
Photo courtesy of Swisscontact

Almost 50 years ago, Switzerland contributed to the establishment of POLMAN Bandung. In 1973, the Swiss Government signed a cooperation agreement with the Polytechnic Mechanic Swiss which was officially inaugurated on March 24, 1977.

For 20 years (1976-1996), Indonesia was a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). SDC activities - totaling CHF 265.5 million - focused on four main sectors: human resources development, urban planning and infrastructure development, health care and rural development. In 1992 SDC decided to gradually phase out its activities. The Cooperation Office closed its doors in 1998.

During the phase-out period, Switzerland provided support in the area of economic development cooperation via the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), mainly through mixed credits. The first credit line was approved in 1983, followed by a second in 1991. Transportation infrastructure was the sectoral focus.

In 2003, SECO began to scale back its assistance through this instrument, but continued to grant support through the IFC PENSA project (Program for Eastern Indonesia SME Assistance), business promotion projects implemented through the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO), and projects for sustainable forest management implemented by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).

In the wake of the tsunami of 2004, SDC allocated around CHF 13 million in humanitarian aid for reconstruction and emergency relief in Aceh. These programs came to an end in 2010, with the exception of technical assistance for the drinking water treatment plant in Banda Aceh ended in 2011.

In 2009, Indonesia became a priority country for SECO. Since then, SECO has implemented three cooperation programs focusing on economic governance, private sector competitiveness, climate change mitigation, trade, public service delivery and sustainable urbanization.