The two countries enjoy a long tradition of friendly bilateral relations. Cooperation between economic, social and cultural entities, in particular via non-governmental organisations, is considerable.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Madagascar
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland has set out a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for 2021–24.
Since March 2009 Madagascar has been experiencing a political crisis that has isolated it on the international stage. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Madagascans and the international community, and following the signing of a roadmap to end the crisis on 17 September 2011, constitutional order was restored through the organisation of free, fair and transparent elections at the end of 2013.
Switzerland has contributed financially and politically to the transition process and return to constitutional order in Madagascar.
Economic relations are relatively modest but show considerable potential for development. Several big Swiss companies are active in the country. Most Swiss economic activities in Madagascar are focused on the tourism sector. Trade is primarily in products such as spices and commodities, especially organic brands.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers who are citizens of Madagascar can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Since the country gained independence in 1960, Switzerland has undertaken several development cooperation programmes, including in the rural sector. The SDC stopped its work in Madagascar in 2016. Since then, only ad-hoc humanitarian activities have been carried out.
The embassy works with the Trôtra dance festival, the Madajazzcar music festival, the Madagascar short films event and other local and international cultural institutes and organisations active in Madagascar.
Swiss nationals in Madagascar
According to the statistics on the Swiss abroad, at the end of 2020 there were 449 Swiss nationals living in Madagascar; 605 Madagascan nationals were living in Switzerland.
History of bilateral relations
The island gained its independence from France in 1960. Switzerland recognised the new state immediately. Diplomatic relations were established one year later.
After maintaining a consulate general in Antananarivo during the first years of independence, Switzerland opened an embassy which was headed by a chargé d’affaires for several decades and since 2007 by a resident ambassador.
In 1998 the SDC closed its cooperation office in Antananarivo. In 2001 it launched a special programme on good governance and the promotion of the local economy, which it has been pursuing in a new form since 2013.