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Un seul monde 1/2013. © DDC
  • L’accent multilatéral / mars 2013
    Le multilatéral à l’épreuve du printemps arabe
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North Africa


Switzerland’s support in North Africa

At the beginning of 2011, Switzerland responded quickly to political upheavals in North Africa. Realising that major security, migration and economic interests depend on stable democratic conditions, Switzerland would like to actively guide and support the democratic transition process in this region. On 11 March, 2011 the Federal Council issued five mandates to three Federal Departments to intensify their activities and quickly develop new and tangible support measures. The three Federal Departments were also instructed to act in a coordinated, coherent and complementary fashion.

The following Federal Departments are involved in the support programme in North Africa: the FDJP (through the Federal Office for Migration FOM); the FDEA (through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO); and the FDFA (through the Directorate of Political Affairs PD, the Directorate of Public International Law DPIL, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC). The Swiss support programme focuses on three key areas:

  1. Easing the transition to democracy and improving the human rights situation;
  2. Promoting economic growth and job creation
  3. Addressing migration issues and protecting particularly vulnerable persons

An annual budget of around CHF 60 million was set aside for implementation of the Federal Council’s decision: around CHF 8 million for democratic transition; around CHF 44 million for economic development; and around CHF 8 million for migration and protection. 

Swiss International Cooperation 2011
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
Bilateral development cooperation 12.65 22.22 12.50
Humanitarian aid 11.13 7.96 7.24
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Economic Cooperation and Development 7.44 10.03 20.98
Total SDC/SECO 31.22 40.21 40.72
Other Federal Offices
FDFA Human Security Division and Directorate of International Law 2.64 5.28 5.29
Other FDFA Divisions (ASAF, AIO, aso) 0.02 0.02
Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) 0.06
Federal Office for Migration (FOM) 1.94 4.98
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) 0.43 0.53 0.37
Total other Federal Offices 3.13 7.77 10.66
Cantons and municipalities 1.35 0.22 ..
Total 35.70 48.20 51.38
SDC figures excluding program contributions to Swiss NGOs
.. = figures not available | – = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF

 Divided per country

Since the Federal Council’s decision to sponsor a support programme numerous projects have been initiated. The following aspects of the programme deserve particular mention:

Switzerland has positioned itself as a reliable and committed partner in North Africa. Switzerland has shown that it follows up on its promises and its rapid response and comprehensive approach to migration issues has drawn a positive response from other donors, with special praise being given to its presence in remote parts of Tunisia where the Jasmine Revolution originated and where inhabitants are particularly isolated.

This has allowed the Federal Council to achieve the objectives set for the new support programme in North Africa: solidarity has been shown to populations in the corresponding countries; and Swiss national interests have been furthered in the areas of security policy, energy policy and, especially, migration policy.

Political and social transformation in the region will be a long-term process with numerous challenges and an uncertain outcome. Switzerland will closely monitor subsequent developments and is committed to creating the best possible conditions for a sustainable and successful transition.

Additional Information and Documents

Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this region.