Political relations between Switzerland and Angola are good, although they are not especially intensive. After the re-opening of the Swiss embassy in Luanda in 2009 and the opening of an Angolan Embassy in Bern in 2006, the two countries reaffirmed their intention to deepen their dialogue on subjects of mutual interest at the political, economic and social levels.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Angola
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Following an interruption of 13 years, the Swiss embassy in Luanda reopened in June 2009. Between 1996 and 2007 the SDC had a Swiss Humanitarian Aid office in the country to support people who had been displaced by the internal armed conflict.
Relations between the two countries cooled after Switzerland blocked assets from Angola. In January 2005 an agreement on the restitution of these funds was signed whereby an Angola-Switzerland social and humanitarian aid programme was launched, a special programme which is being implemented by the Swiss embassy in conjunction with the SDC.
On 17 December 2012 the two countries signed a second restitution agreement, on the basis of which additional assets of Angolan origin are to be returned to Angola. The money is intended to directly benefit the Angolan population: two major projects are in the area of education (construction of an agricultural school and renovation of a technical secondary school) to promote the development and diversification of the Angolan economy, and there are also three smaller projects.
Angola has experienced a tremendous economic upswing since the peace agreements of 2002, thanks mainly to its oil resources and the need to rebuild infrastructure.
Several multinational companies that are Swiss owned or based in Switzerland are present in Angola, together with about 10 SMEs. A Swiss business club has been established. A representative of SwissCham Central - Western Africa has also been in Luanda since 2009.
However trade between the two countries is still relatively modest.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Scholars and artists from Angola can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation humanitarian aid
Counting the years of the struggle for independence, armed conflict reigned in Angola for four decades. From 1996 to 2007, Swiss Humanitarian Aid was highly active in Angola, where it did humanitarian work on behalf of displaced populations and helped to rebuild infrastructure.
Angola itself is now responsible for the reconstruction of the country, where the civil war caused widespread destruction.
Swiss nationals in Angola
At the end of 2015, 138 Swiss nationals were living in Angola, about half of them in the capital Luanda. There are also some 20 business people staying temporarily in Angola.
History of bilateral relations
The regional conflicts and the civil war from 1975 to 2002 led Switzerland to close its embassy in August 1996, replacing it with a Swiss Humanitarian Aid office, located first in Huambo, then in Luanda.
A Swiss consulate operated in Luanda from 1962 to 1975, when Angolan obtained independence from Portugal. Switzerland recognised the Popular Republic of Angola on 18 February 1976. An embassy headed by a chargé d'affaires opened in Luanda in 1977.
Swiss explorers and missionaries started to take an interest in Angola, which was then a Portuguese colony, from about the middle of the 19th century. Economic relations were established during the 1950s, when Swiss companies were involved in improving infrastructure and in the industrialisation of Angola. These, however, remained limited, in particular because of internal conflicts.