Switzerland has had an official presence in Kenya since the country's independence in 1963. Switzerland's work initially focused on development cooperation, but has since expanded into many other areas, including trade, combating corruption, and promoting human rights. Kenya is a lion economy and part of the Greater Horn of Africa region – which are thematic and geographical priorities of the Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–2024.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kenya
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Kenya plays an important role in ensuring political stability in East Africa. Its economy is the most dynamic in the region. Switzerland partners with other states to improve governance and respect for human rights in Kenya. It also maintains economic and cultural ties with the country.
Nairobi is home to one of the four main offices of the UN. The headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are also located on the site.
On 28 April 2017 Switzerland and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual legal assistance in order to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against international crime and corruption.
As the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya is one of the lion economies offering significant potential defined in the Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24. Despite its diversified economy, some 75% of the population still work in agriculture. The country's main exports are flowers, tea and coffee. In 2020, Kenya was Switzerland's sixteenth biggest partner in Africa. Trade between the two countries amounted to CHF 147 million. Switzerland primarily imports agricultural products from Kenya and exports pharmaceutical and chemical products to the country.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers who are citizens of Kenya can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The Horn of Africa cooperation programme 2022–25 takes a comprehensive approach, combining humanitarian and development cooperation instruments with political and diplomatic measures and migration and security instruments. The programme, which focuses primarily on Somalia and the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya and Ethiopia, is based around projects on governance, food security and rural development, health, migration and protection. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's regional office for the Horn of Africa, which is based in Nairobi, is responsible for implementing the programme.
Swiss nationals in Kenya
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 797 Swiss citizens were living in Kenya and 1,406 Kenyan citizens were living in Switzerland at the end of 2020. Kenya's national parks and beaches make it a much-loved tourist destination for Swiss people.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Kenya's independence in 1963. The following year, the two states established diplomatic relations and Switzerland opened an embassy in Nairobi.