Switzerland has had an official presence in Kenya since the country's independence in 1963. Initially, Swiss efforts focused on development cooperation; today, they include a number of areas such as trade, fighting corruption, promoting human rights and cultural ties.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kenya
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Political ties between the two countries are good. Kenya plays a key role in maintaining political stability in eastern Africa, and its economy is the most dynamic in the region. Switzerland partners with other states to improve governance and the observance of human rights in Kenya. It also maintains economic and cultural ties with the country.
The United Nations Office at Nairobi is one of the four main headquarters of the UN. The Swiss embassy in Nairobi represents Switzerland's interests at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Although Kenya has a diversified economy, some 75% of the population still works in agriculture. The country's main exports are flowers, tea and coffee.
In 2017, Kenya was Switzerland's twelfth largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Trade between the two countries amounted to CHF 138.2 million. Kenya's exports to Switzerland are almost exclusively agricultural products, and Swiss exports to Kenya are mainly pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The Swiss embassy in Nairobi coordinates the Horn of Africa cooperation strategy (2018–21), which has a CHF 170 million budget. It is a regional strategy that mainly focuses on Somalia and the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya and Ethiopia. Switzerland's activities in the Horn of Africa concentrate on good governance, food security, health, migration and protection of the civilian population.
Its activities in Kenya focus on strengthening the resilience of agro-pastoralists and promoting long-term solutions for internally displaced people.
Swiss nationals in Kenya
Kenya's national parks and beaches make it a much-loved tourist destination for Swiss people. At the beginning of 2019, around 860 Swiss nationals (registered at the Swiss embassy) were living in Kenya.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Kenya's independence in 1963. The following year, the two states established diplomatic relations and Switzerland opened an embassy in Nairobi.