Bilateral relations Switzerland–Somalia

Somalia is a priority country of the “Horn of Africa, 2013–2016 strategy”. For this reason, the SDC is increasing its regional cooperation with Somalia. On 16 April 2013, the Swiss Federal Council appointed a special envoy and ambassador for Somalia.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Reconstruction has begun in this country following 20 years of civil war. Switzerland is deepening its relations with Somalia and has appointed a special envoy and ambassador for Somalia with residence in Nairobi. Switzerland works closely with the Somali federal government in Mogadishu and also supports Somalia’s neighbouring countries. UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and regional organisations such as the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development are major partners.

Switzerland’s Humanitarian Aid alleviates the suffering of many people in Somalia. Switzerland supports the peace- and state-building process in Somalia and the creation of a functioning state. It is committed to good governance, rule-of-law principles and the protection and enforcement of human rights.

Economic cooperation

Trade and economic cooperation between Switzerland and Somalia are limited; in 2012 the trade volume amounted to CHF 30,000. Switzerland imports essential oils from Somalia and exports office materials and electronic devices.

The Somali diaspora in Switzerland and throughout the world supports its home country through remittances to family members at home. These transfer payments are an important part of the Somali economy.

Trade promotion (Switzerland Global Enterprise)

Cooperation in the domain of education

Scholars and artists from Somalia can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Peace promotion and human security

Peace promotion is part of Switzerland’s “Horn of Africa, 2013–2016 strategy”. Switzerland supports project partners with the processes of state-building and democratisation as well as with the creation of platforms to conduct dialogues with different actors in Somalia. It also contributes to the UN mine-clearing programme in Somaliland and Puntland.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The “Horn of Africa, 2013–2016” strategy focuses Switzerland’s development cooperation and humanitarian aid on the following four areas:

  • Food security and rural development
  • Health
  • Migration
  • Good governance, peace process and conflict transformation

Somalia and the Horn of Africa are regularly affected by droughts; in 2011 the lack of rain caused an acute crisis. At the end of 2013, 2.3 million people were still dependent on aid.

At the conference on 16 September 2013 in Brussels on “A new Deal for Somalia”, the international community pledged EUR 1.8 billion for Somalia to support the peace-building and state-building processes. Switzerland participates in this process within the framework of the “Horn of Africa, 2013–2016 strategy”.

The SDC regional office for the Horn of Africa in Nairobi has launched and supervises the implementation of Switzerland’s development projects. It is also the contact point for humanitarian aid projects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss citizens in Somalia

At the end of 2015, there were 20 Swiss citizens living in Somaila, one of whom has dual citizenship.