Bilateral relations Switzerland–Lesotho

As part of its regional programme for southern Africa, Swiss development cooperation will continue to support food security and HIV/AIDS projects in Lesotho until 2022. The country is proud to call itself 'the Switzerland of southern Africa', both highlighting its potential as a tourist destination and contributing to Switzerland's excellent reputation in Lesotho.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Switzerland has set out a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for 2021–24.

High-level exchanges between Switzerland and Lesotho are rare. An official delegation from Lesotho's Ministry of Local Government visited Switzerland in 2009.

The Swiss ambassador in Pretoria is accredited to the King of Lesotho, and the ambassador of Lesotho based in Geneva is accredited to Switzerland.

Treaty database

Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 (PDF, 48 Pages, 3.1 MB, English)

Economic cooperation

Direct trade between the two countries is modest because Swiss products sold in Lesotho are imported via South Africa. In 2008 a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which includes Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini and South Africa, entered into force.

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise SGE

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers who are citizens of Lesotho can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists, SERI

Peace support and human security

Switzerland is helping to strengthen electoral and democratic processes in SADC countries, which include Lesotho.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

As part of the regional programme for southern Africa of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland supports food security and HIV/AIDS projects. Three projects in Lesotho are ongoing, but there will be a gradual reduction in Swiss funding by 2024 in line with Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss nationals in Lesotho

According to the statistics on the Swiss abroad, at the end of 2020 there were 7 Swiss nationals living in Lesotho; 7 Lesotho nationals were living in Switzerland.

History of bilateral relations

Relations between Switzerland and Lesotho were established by Protestant missionaries, who settled in Morija from 1859 onwards at the mission set up by the Frenchman Eugène Casalis, who was also counsellor to King Moshoeshoe, founder of the Basotho nation.

The Federal Council recognised Lesotho’s independence on 4 October 1966 and established diplomatic relations with the country in 1967. The local SDC office was closed in 2005.

Lesotho, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)

Diplomatic documents of Switzerland, Dodis

Last update 15.02.2022

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