Although Swiss-Liberian diplomatic ties are not particularly close, trade between the two countries has increased in recent years. Switzerland and Liberia have concluded several bilateral agreements. In 2017 Switzerland opened an honorary consulate general in Monrovia.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Liberia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
In 2011 both countries signed an agreement cancelling Liberia’s debt to Switzerland. At the time of the Ebola epidemic between 2014 and 2016, Switzerland supported emergency relief efforts in the Mano river region with a contribution of more than CHF 30 million. Most of the funding was used in Liberia. In 2017 Switzerland opened an honorary consulate general in Monrovia.
Trade between the two countries is not very diversified. In 2016 Switzerland’s main import from Liberia was gold worth CHF 104 million; in turn it exported products amounting to CHF 17.9 million mainly from Switzerland’s watchmaking and automotive industries.
Cooperation in the domain of education
Researchers and artists from Liberia can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland provided humanitarian aid during Liberia's civil war in the 1990s. Between 2004 and 2016, it supported the country’s reconstruction efforts in health, infrastructure, food security and protection of the civilian population. One of Switzerland’s priorities for Liberia is the sustainable reintegration of refugees and internally displaced people.
Swiss nationals in Liberia
In the mid-1960s around 200 Swiss nationals lived and worked in Liberia. This number started to decrease in the 1980s, with just 30 Swiss nationals living there in 2016.
History of bilateral relations
As far back as the 19th century, Swiss traders, researchers and abolitionists were already showing an interest in Liberia, which declared its independence in 1847. Growing trade between the two countries led to the opening of a Swiss consulate in Liberia in 1954.
In 1960 Switzerland and Liberia established diplomatic relations. At that time, more than 200 Swiss nationals lived in Liberia, mainly working in international trade, the forestry and plantation industries, and in the country’s largest brewery – Monrovia Brewery.
Until the civil war in the 1990s, Liberia was one of Switzerland’s priority countries. Trade began to stagnate in the 1980s. In 1988 only 10 Swiss companies were still operating in Liberia.
Switzerland first opened a consulate in Monrovia in 1954, a consulate general in 1957 and an embassy managed by a chargé d'affaires in 1965, which were closed in 1992. Since then Swiss interests in Liberia have been maintained via the consulate general headed by a honorary representative. Between 2006 and 2016 an office for cooperation and consular affairs responsible for coordinating Switzerland’s humanitarian aid efforts was operational in Monrovia.
Switzerland and Liberia signed an air transport agreement in 1961 and, in 1963, a friendship and trade agreement as well as an arbitration agreement.