With its Horn of Africa cooperation programme, Switzerland is focusing on good governance, food security, health, migration and the protection of vulnerable communities. Geographically, the regional programme focuses on the Somali context. It covers the semi-arid areas of Ethiopia and Kenya that border Somalia. Emergency aid is provided throughout the region as needed.

The Horn of Africa is one of the world's most conflict-prone and fragile regions. The region's countries are the countries of origin and host countries for a great number of refugees and internally displaced persons. Factors driving fragility include protracted conflict and violent extremism, weak governance, and poor quality of public services. This is compounded by the increasingly hard-hitting impacts of climate change. At the same time, the Horn of Africa harbours the potential to drive positive developments in the region, including the spread of mobile telecommunications, rapid digital innovation and an agile global diaspora. A generation of young and connected citizens are working more and more closely to create better prospects for the region.

The SDC's Horn of Africa cooperation programme builds on the results that have been achieved in the region and emphasises Switzerland's engagement in fragile contexts. Swiss support covers areas such as the delivery of services and the restoration of trust in state institutions. Switzerland is also tackling the long-term causes of the conflicts and poverty that exacerbate the fragile situation in the Horn of Africa. As part of its cooperation work, Switzerland also supports the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as the only regional organisation in the Horn of Africa.

Regional Cooperation Strategy 2013-2016 Horn of Africa

Switzerland’s Regional Cooperation Strategy 2013–2016 for the Horn of Africa is a development framework that brings together the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Secretariat for Migration. The total budget is 140.05 million Swiss francs (94 % from SDC). The strategy covers Somalia, Southern Ethiopia and North/Northeastern Kenya. In case of humanitarian emergency and provided conditions of engagement are met, the strategy also includes Eritrea and Djibouti.  Switzerland’s regional strategy focuses on four sectors: food security, governance, health and migration/protection.

Why: hypothesis of change for the region

Switzerland’s interests and overall hypothesis of change is that people in the region gradually gain confidence in, and benefit from, their State institutions and services. Despite temporary setbacks they are increasingly able to share and manage resources peacefully and take advantage of economic opportunities. Switzerland promotes the transformation of conflicts and regional connectivity by addressing the long-term drivers of conflict and poverty which lie at the core of the fragility in the Horn of Africa, particularly the Somali conflict dynamics and conflicts concerning power and resource sharing.