Niger is a priority country for international cooperation. For over 35 years the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC has been assisting Niger with rural development, education and training programmes, and also in dealing with the famine across the Sahel region of Africa since 2012. Since 2009 the Human Security Division (HSD) has also been engaged in peace policy in Niger. The state secretary of the FDFA, Yves Rossier, made an official visit to Niger between 8 and 11 December 2015.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Niger
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Relations between Switzerland and Niger are focused on long-standing cooperation to improve living conditions in Niger, the development of the country and peace policy activities.
Cooperation in the domain of education
Scholars and artists from Niger can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Niger is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. SDC has been active in Niger since 1977. It seeks to improve people's food security and the quality of life and encourages gender equality. It promotes the education sector and inclusive and sustainable development.
Although the SDC has programmes throughout Niger its main focus is on two priority regions:
- Dosso in the southwest, at the border with Benin and Nigeria
- Maradi, the centre of agricultural production
The organisation invests between CHF 21 and 25 million every year on its activities in Niger. The contribution made by Swiss Humanitarian Aid (CHF 1 to 5 million) depends on the different crises across the country.
Niger is located in the Sahel and suffers from recurring food crises that affect between two to five million people. Humanitarian aid provided by SDC already helped to combat the famines in 2005 and 2010. The lack of rainfall since 2010 has made the supply situation worse, and the effects of this could still be felt in 2012. This region has experienced three periods of drought in less than ten years. The situation is compounded by the violent clashes in northern Mali and the Boko Haram crisis affecting the north of Nigeria and Niger's Diffa region. These conflicts have resulted in the displacement of more than 200,000 people to Niger, which has deeply affected the economic situation and security for local people.
Swiss nationals in Niger
In 2015, there were 39 Swiss nationals living in Niger.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Niger in 1960 and went on to establish diplomatic relations. Despite various agreements on trade, investment protection and technical cooperation between 1962 and 1978, the volume of trade between the two countries is low.