The Swiss Confederation

History of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations | Country Profile

History of Relations

South Africa’s bilateral and political relations with The Swiss Confederation are strategic, and cordial. Switzerland views South Africa as a close partner on key global issues.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation became active in South Africa during the final stage of the apartheid regime and has since played a critical role in assisting South Africa with development assistance in the field of education, focusing on vocational training and scarce skills development.

In 1995 the Swiss Development Agency (SDC) set up a special programme for South Africa which focused on conflict prevention and poverty reduction. In 2005 South Africa obtained the status of middle-income country and became a priority country of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). In parallel the SDC developed a more regional strategy, spreading its activities to other SADC countries.

The two countries (Switzerland and South Africa) meet annually at the level of Deputy Minister and State Secretary of the Respective Foreign Ministries, within the framework of the High-Level Consultation (HLC). The last meeting was held on 16 November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of the HLC (established in 2008) is to take stock of relations and progress made since the last sitting as well as to identify new areas of cooperation.

Bilateral investment relations also remained very strong. Switzerland is the 7th largest foreign investor in South Africa with approximately 100 companies and subsidiaries or production facilities in the Country, sustaining an estimated 70,000 jobs.

Switzerland is a leading country in innovation and technology and it is also a focus area of its relations with South Africa. Substantive projects are regularly undertaken and result in tangible outcomes. Following a joint call by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), twelve of 90 project proposals in the fields of Public Health, the Humanities and Energy, were selected to receive funding. Switzerland expressed keen in joining the Square Kilometre Array Project as a full member (they currently hold observer status only).

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Switzerland

H E Ms D S Mthembi-Mahanyele
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

Swiss Representation in South Africa

H E Dr N Brühl
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Pretoria (Embassy)

Travel Info

Visa Requirements for South Africans

For more information contact the Embassy of Switzerland.


Health Requirements

Proof of a medical insurance must be produced prior to departure from South Africa. There is no immunisation against DHF (Dengue Fever).

COVID-19

Fully vaccinated persons with a recognised vaccine residing in South Africa may apply for a visa for Switzerland. Persons residing in South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho who do not meet the vaccination requirements (not fully vaccinated or vaccine not recognised): entry into Switzerland is only possible if you fall under a case of special necessity.

For further information go to Travellers' Health.


Climate

Switzerland is cold in winter and the summers are mild.

For up-to-date weather information click here.


Currency Info

The monetary unit is the Swiss Franc (CHF). The currency is freely convertible.

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

Due to the Corona Virus global pandemic, there have been no official visits between South Africa and Switzerland since March 2020.

Bilateral Agreements

There are 22 bilateral agreements between South Africa and Switzerland, the most important of which include Bilateral Air Services, Double Taxation, Development Cooperation, Science and Technology, as well as a Visa Agreement.

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at 012 351 1000.

Trade Info

Total trade had increased by 26% from R23 billion in 2019 to R29 billion during the twelve months to the end of November 2020. South African exports declined by 8% from R11,9 billion to R10,9 billion over the same period.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Switzerland, visit the website of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

Arts and Culture
Pro Helvetia, the Swiss National Foundation for Arts and Culture based in South Africa.

Business Organisations
Swiss Business Council

Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce and Industries Southern Africa Switzerland
Tel: 011 557 5978
Fax: 011 978 9947

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa