Bilateral relations Switzerland–Burkina Faso

Relations between Switzerland and Burkina Faso are good and mainly focused on development cooperation and trade.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Switzerland has defined a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2021–24.

In the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, Switzerland focuses primarily on promoting peace, the respect for international humanitarian law, the bolstering of basic services, and the sustainable management of natural resources. 

Switzerland recognised Burkina Faso as an independent state on 5 August 1960, and the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1961. Since then Switzerland and Burkina Faso have signed bilateral agreements relating to trade and the protection of investments, as well as technical cooperation and budgetary aid.

Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 (PDF, 3.1 MB, English)

Treaty database

Economic cooperation

Trade between Switzerland and Burkina Faso increased by almost 80% in 2020 compared to 2019. Burkina Faso has thus become Switzerland's leading trade partner in Africa, with a trade volume of CHF 3 billion, consisting almost exclusively of the Swiss import of Burkinabe gold (99.9% of Swiss imports). Switzerland exported CHF 6 million worth of products, mainly pharmaceuticals, to Burkina Faso.

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise SGE

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Basic education and vocational skills development is one of the focal points of Swiss development cooperation in Burkina Faso. Researchers who are citizens of Burkina Faso can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists (SERI)

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Burkina Faso has been a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) since 1976. The SDC's basic and vocational training programme is run via national funding mechanisms.

Due to the rapid deterioration of the security situation since 2014, Switzerland is providing humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons and support through a regional programme for the prevention of violent extremism.

Switzerland has allocated CHF 156.5 million for SDC and SECO cooperation programmes in 2021–25.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Cultural exchanges

Development cooperation provides regular support for cultural activities.

Swiss nationals in Burkina Faso

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 82 Swiss citizens were living in Burkina Faso at the end of 2020 and 345 Burkinabe citizens were living in Switzerland.

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland recognised Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) as an independent state on 5 August 1960. Diplomatic relations were established the following year. In 1970, a consular agency was opened in the capital city of Ouagadougou. This agency is now part of the cooperation office. The cooperation and consular affairs office was opened in 1974.

In 1969, Switzerland and Burkina Faso signed an agreement on trade, investment protection and technical cooperation. Agreements on technical cooperation and budgetary aid were signed in 1978, 2006 and 2009.

Burkina Faso, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)

Diplomatic documents of Switzerland, Dodis