In line with Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy for the 2021–24 period, the Southern Africa programme now prioritises two countries: Zimbabwe and Zambia. The programme focuses on achieving food security, providing access to high-quality services, especially healthcare, and strengthening civil society and public institutions.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are landlocked neighbours in Southern Africa. Their prospects for development and ability to compete globally depend heavily on regional integration and the progress of neighbouring states. Both countries are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Zambia and Zimbabwe have a wealth of natural resources and a relatively well-educated young population. However, growing inequality, poverty and climate change are undermining stability.

The Cooperation Programme 2023–26 is concerned with fighting inequality, alleviating poverty, building communities' resilience, increasing food security and improving access to services, especially healthcare. The programme also aims to increase political participation and establish accountable and resilient public institutions.

Highlights of the four coming years 2013-2016

The regional programme Southern Africa will combine both instruments of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.

SDC will improve its articulation of its regional approach with its country offices, the global programmes and UN agencies active in the region and supported by SDC.
In view of the limited means of SDC, the concentration on two out of previously three domains of intervention will increase its efficiency and effectiveness:

  • Agriculture/Food security: Increased resilience in food security in particular of smallholder farmers in SADC region with a focus on the promotion of a harmonised seed system, post harvest management and Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • HIV/AIDS: Prevention of HIV/AIDS among young women and men and access to care and support to contribute to the overall goal of reducing HIV/AIDS incidence and vulnerabilities in particular among children and youth.
  • Governance (equitable, responsible and accountable allocation and use of public resources in the two domains) and gender (agriculture women farmers, vulnerability of women and girls in HIV/AIDS) will be tackled as transversal themes.

In the regional Programme Southern Africa (RPSA) the approach will bring together regional policy interventions and their translation into selected countries where also interventions on the ground and pilots are taking place. The component in Zimbabwe will contribute to the regional objectives in agriculture/food security and HIV/AIDS. Water, as a key component of food and health security, will be also addressed. Part of the flexible budget will be allocated to health or governance issues in a broader perspective depending on the context’s evolution.

Beyond the RPSA, the Global Programme Climate Change will increase its mitigation portfolio focused on South Africa.