Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Burundi focus on peacebuilding and development cooperation. Burundi is part of the Great Lakes priority region.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Burundi
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Swiss diplomacy in Burundi is mainly focused on development and peacebuilding efforts. Switzerland has a cooperation office in Burundi and a cooperation programme for the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda). The Great Lakes region is defined as a geographical priority in Switzerland's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Burundi may apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, assisted by the University of Basel, acts as the leading house for bilateral research cooperation with partner institutions in Africa under a mandate conferred by SERI.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland is working to prevent violence and promote respect for human rights in Burundi. Through the promotion of democratic dialogue, it contributes to peacebuilding and inclusive development in Burundi. Switzerland works in close cooperation with the Burundian authorities, civil society and international organisations. The Swiss chairmanship of the Burundi Configuration in the UN Peacebuilding Commission provides an additional platform for promoting peace in Burundi.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Within the framework of its regional strategy for the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda), Switzerland is committed to building peace and stability, reducing poverty and protecting civilian populations. It supports the strengthening of democratic processes, respect for human rights, social cohesion and job creation, especially for young people. Through the coordinated use of foreign policy instruments – diplomacy, development assistance, the promotion of peace and human rights, and humanitarian aid – Switzerland aims to strengthen the capacities of the population to deal with crises and challenges.
Swiss nationals in Burundi
At the end of 2020, there were 27 Swiss nationals living in Burundi.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Burundi in 1962 on the day of the declaration of independence and had a consulate in the former capital Bujumbura between 1972 and 1990. Today, there is a Swiss cooperation office in Bujumbura, while diplomatic responsibility for Burundi is assigned to the Swiss embassy in Nairobi.
In 2013, the framework agreement between Switzerland and Burundi on development cooperation and humanitarian aid superseded the 1969 bilateral agreement on technical cooperation. The ethnic violence that engulfed Burundi between 1972 and 1988 resulted in the suspension of development cooperation. From the 1990s onwards, Swiss support was limited to humanitarian aid. Following the 2004 elections, Burundi was included in a new development assistance programme, which was extended to cover the whole of the Great Lakes region in 2006.