Relations between Switzerland and Morocco are good and wide-ranging. The partnership between the two countries is growing stronger in the economic domain and in many other areas, such as transport and energy. Switzerland is pursuing dialogue on migration with Morocco and supports initiatives in education, technology and innovation. Morocco is also a popular destination for Swiss tourists.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Morocco
On 14 October 2020, the Federal Council adopted a specific strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA Strategy) for the 2021–24 period. It identifies five thematic priorities: peace, security and human rights; migration and protection of people in need; sustainable development; economic affairs, finance, science; and digitalisation and new technologies.
These priorities are weighted differently across the various regions and countries. In North Africa, Switzerland's activities focus on good governance, sustainable economic development and cooperation in the area of migration. The political upheavals of 2011 have paved the way for a long transition process in North Africa. Switzerland's commitment is aimed mainly at supporting these countries in their political, economic and social transition. Switzerland supports reforms aimed at improving economic prospects and increasing civic participation.
Switzerland's priorities in Morocco
The MENA Strategy 2021–24 identifies the following priorities for Switzerland in Morocco: 1) Migration; 2) Sustainable development; 3) Digitalisation and new technologies.
1) Migration and protection of people in need
Switzerland seeks to strengthen the dialogue on migration with Morocco with the aim of concluding a cooperation agreement on migration that could be linked to other cooperation agreements (e.g. on police cooperation, mutual legal assistance and social security).
2) Sustainable development
In keeping with the existing declaration of intent, Switzerland is committed to strengthening cooperation in energy, transport and agriculture. It will help implement the points agreed on by facilitating exchanges between experts and by providing a framework for the projects of Swiss businesses.
3) Digitalisation and new technologies
Switzerland accompanies reforms in the education sector, including in vocational training, by providing strategic expertise and facilitating contact with actors in Switzerland. It supports initiatives by Swiss universities to work with Moroccan educational institutions in the areas of education, technology and innovation.
Researchers and artists who are citizens of Morocco can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Other areas of cooperation
In 2020, Switzerland's imports from Morocco stood at CHF 201 million while Swiss exports came to CHF 306 million, with total trade amounting to CHF 507 million.
Switzerland has concluded a number of agreements with the Kingdom of Morocco. A bilateral agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments came into effect in 2005, while a framework agreement on technical and financial cooperation and humanitarian aid entered into force in 2013. A free trade agreement between Morocco and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) entered into force in 1999.
The Cairo branch of Swiss arts council Pro Helvetia is responsible for promoting Swiss arts and culture in the Middle East and North Africa. The foundation promotes cultural links in Morocco, initiates joint projects between artists and arranges artists' residencies.
Switzerland regularly participates in events to promote the French language as part of the International Day of La Francophonie and also the Italian culture week (Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo). It also organises various cultural events.
Swiss nationals in Marocco
At the end of 2020, there were 1,750 Swiss citizens living in Morocco.
History of bilateral relations
The first Swiss merchants to arrive in Morocco settled in Tangiers at the end of the 19th century.
In 1921, Switzerland opened a consulate in Casablanca, which was moved to Rabat in 1947. Switzerland recognised Morocco's independence in 1956. During the building of diplomatic relations, Switzerland opened a legation in Rabat, which was raised to the status of embassy in 1960. It also maintained a consulate in Tangiers from 1958 to 1968. Switzerland currently maintains an honorary consulate in Casablanca and in Marrakesh.
In 1959, Morocco opened a representation in Switzerland which was raised to the status of embassy in 1961.