Switzerland maintains good relations with the 49 countries and with the regional organisations of sub-Saharan Africa, and upholds its foreign policy interests in the region. Switzerland carries out diverse activities in this region comprised of countries with varied profiles:
- Trade and finance: several countries in sub-Saharan Africa have considerable economic growth potential. Switzerland promotes exchanges and investment in the region through its embassies and consulates general as well as through the Swiss Business Hub in Pretoria.
- Development cooperation and humanitarian aid: Switzerland facilitates the development of systems of governance which ensure the provision of basic services to local populations, and provides humanitarian aid in times of crisis.
- Peace and security: Switzerland's long-standing engagement in sub-Saharan Africa allows our representations to contribute to peaceful, long-term solutions to conflicts. Switzerland provides facilitation and mediation support within the framework of its good offices.
- Human rights and governance: Switzerland holds dialogues on human rights and governance issues, in areas such as democracy, abolition of the death penalty and business and human rights.
- Migration and asylum: Switzerland is engaged in efforts in the areas of migration and asylum both in countries of origin and in neighbouring countries, which host most of the people fleeing crisis zones.
- Science, technology and culture: cooperation between companies and research institutes (universities and other higher education institutions) based in countries of sub-Saharan Africa and in Switzerland is growing. Cultural and scientific cooperation is a conduit for exchange and an opportunity to develop innovative relations, also by including civil society.
African regional organisations are playing an increasingly important role in shaping their member countries' domestic and foreign policy. Switzerland is expanding its relations with the African Union (AU), the main regional organisation for the continent. It is working with the AU on projects to strengthen peace and security.
Switzerland is also contributing to build the capacities of sub-regional organisations: the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East African Community (EAC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC).