Ties between the two countries have a longstanding focus on development cooperation, with both countries looking to build upon this basis and develop closer relations.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Rwanda
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland has set out a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for 2021–24.
Swiss-Rwandan relations are good and centred on a longstanding partnership in development cooperation. The two countries have committed themselves to deepening and diversifying bilateral ties. Rwanda is both part of the Great Lakes region and considered a lion economy, an African country with major economic potential.
Although trade between the two countries remains modest, Switzerland's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy identifies Rwanda as one of the regional lion economies. This makes it one of the African countries that harbour high economic potential, particularly in terms of investment and trade, and that are characterised by dynamic growth.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers who are citizens of Rwanda can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Measures to promote peace and human security
As part of the regional strategy for the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda), Switzerland is committed to peace, stability, poverty reduction, and the protection of the civilian population. It helps bolster democratic processes, respect for human rights, social cohesion, and job creation, especially for young people. Through the coordinated use of foreign policy instruments – diplomacy, development aid, peace and human rights promotion, humanitarian aid – Switzerland aims to strengthen the capacities of the people in the region to cope with the crises and challenges facing them.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Swiss development cooperation in Rwanda focuses on supporting public health systems, combating violence against women, vocational education and training, job creation and economic development. Switzerland is also committed to good governance and improving the situation for the media in Rwanda.
Swiss citizens in Rwanda
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 108 Swiss citizens were living in Rwanda at the end of 2020 and 347 Rwandan citizens were living in Switzerland.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland immediately recognised Rwanda's independence, which was gained in 1962. The following year, Rwanda became a priority country for Swiss development aid. In this context, a number of Swiss nationals have acted as personal advisers to the Rwandan president. Following the genocide in 1994, Switzerland halted its development cooperation, turning its attention to delivering humanitarian aid for victims. Switzerland has been working in Rwanda as part of a regional programme since 2009. The Swiss embassy in Kenya has diplomatic responsibility for Rwanda.