Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan enjoy good relations based on technical cooperation and their collaboration in the voting constituencies in the Bretton Woods institutions. Kyrgyzstan is also a partner in water diplomacy.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kyrgyzstan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Swiss voting constituencies in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Global Environment Fund (GEF).
In the spring of 2012, the Federal Council upgraded the Swiss cooperation office in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to embassy status. The embassy was officially opened in November 2012.
The embassy is responsible for safeguarding Switzerland's interests and facilitating technical and economic cooperation projects carried out by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
A consular section that provides visa services was opened in Bishkek in November 2013.
Switzerland is also active in Central Asia in the field of water diplomacy. The 'Blue Peace Central Asia' initiative promotes regional cooperation among the five Central Asian countries and provides political and technical support for transboundary water management. A regional adviser based in Almaty (Kazakhstan) coordinates Switzerland's activities in the region.
Swiss investments in Kyrgyzstan are modest, amounting to USD 13.8 million in 2018. Switzerland nonetheless ranks among the ten largest investors in Kyrgyzstan. The volume of bilateral trade is also modest and amounted to CHF 9.2 million in 2019. Switzerland exports mainly pharmaceutical products, machinery, optical and medical devices, paper and paper products, watches and toys.
Cooperation in the area of education
Researchers from Kyrgyzstan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Kyrgyzstan is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. The SDC and SECO are active in the areas of health sector reform, private sector development, good governance, water management (drinking water, irrigation and sanitation) and climate change.
The SDC and SECO cooperation strategy for 2017–21 allocates an annual budget of CHF 20–25 million to Kyrgyzstan. Since 1993, Switzerland has invested CHF 400 million in Kyrgyzstan through its bilateral cooperation programmes.
Swiss in Kyrgyzstan
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there are 58 Swiss citizens living in Kyrgyzstan as of December 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Kyrgyzstan's independence on 23 December 1991. The Swiss embassy in Moscow initially handled diplomatic relations. From 1993 to 2012, the Swiss embassy in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent was responsible for Kyrgyzstan.
A Swiss cooperation office was opened in Bishkek in 1993, which was upgraded to an embassy in November 2012. Kyrgyzstan has a mission to the international organisations in Geneva whose ambassador has been accredited to Bern since 1996.
Joint Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-CIS/Georgia
The Joint Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-CIS/Georgia (JCC) is the leading chamber of commerce in Switzerland that promotes bilateral business between Switzerland and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and Georgia. JCC supports Swiss companies entering the CIS/Georgia market, and companies from the region interested to establish themselves in Switzerland. The chamber does so through information dissemination, business events and business support. JCC serves all of Switzerland. It is headquartered in Zurich with representatives in Western Switzerland and Canton Ticino. The members are companies in a cross-section of industries and service sectors.