Relations between Switzerland and the Gabonese Republic are good although not particularly well developed. Links notably exist with the timber industry, based on an agreement between a training centre in Biel and the state of Gabon. The hospital founded by Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Lambaréné has also left its mark on bilateral relations between the two countries.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Gabon
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Swiss interests in the Gabonese Republic are looked after by the Swiss Embassy in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Economic and trade relations between the two countries are very modest. Exports from Gabon to Switzerland mostly involve agricultural and forestry products. Swiss exports are mainly industrial machinery, electrical and electronic apparatus and precision instruments, and also some used cars.
Cooperation in the domain of education
The Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) offers university level scholarships on the basis of reciprocity to a pool of about a dozen countries in southern and central Africa which includes the Gabonese Republic.
The Higher Technical Schools HF Wood Biel has signed an agreement with the state of Gabon for the training of carpenters and wood engineers.
Swiss nationals in Gabon
At the end of 2015 there were 43 Swiss nationals living in Gabon.
History of bilateral relations
At the beginning of the 20th century a large number of Swiss citizens emigrated to Gabon in to work in the lumber industry, in trade or in the hospital of the “jungle doctor” Albert Schweitzer in Lambaréné.
Switzerland recognised the independence of this former French colony in 1960. Gabon has been a presidential republic since 1961.
Until the beginning of the 1970s trade relations between Switzerland and Gabon were subject to the French-Swiss agreements of 1955 and 1967. In 1972 Switzerland and Gabon concluded a bilateral agreement covering trade, the protection of investments as well as technical and scientific cooperation.