Press releases, 13.02.2021

Following his visit to Algeria and Mali, the head of the FDFA, Ignazio Cassis, travelled to Senegal on 11 February 2021 for a two-day visit. In Dakar he met Senegalese President Macky Sall and Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall. At the centre of discussions were the priorities of Switzerland's new Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 and Swiss engagement in Senegal regarding vocational education and training and digitalisation. Mr Cassis then travelled to The Gambia, where various official meetings and visits were on the programme.

Prosperity and sustainability lie at the heart of Switzerland's new Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24. During his meeting with President Macky Sall, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis acknowledged the great economic potential of Senegal, which belongs to the region of the "economic lionesses": "A stable and transparent business climate is essential to attract investment to the country." The issue of multilateralism was also raised, especially in view of President Macky Sall's chairmanship of the African Union in 2022.

With his counterpart Aissata Tall Sall, Mr Cassis reiterated the importance of environmental issues and Switzerland's desire to work together with Senegal in this regard. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding to reduce climate damage and also exchanged views on the Blue Peace initiative, which aims to prevent conflicts through optimal and equitable management of water resources.

Finally, an agreement aimed at improving the efficiency and competitiveness of air transport services between the two countries was signed. The two counterparts also discussed cooperation in the field of human rights, especially regarding juvenile justice and child protection.

Digital education and visit of Gorée Island
While he was in Senegal, Mr Cassis visited a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) recording studio set up by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. He also familiarised himself with the newly launched EPFL Excellence in Africa program. The head of the FDFA also visited Gorée Island, a place that symbolises the memory of the slave trade.

The swiss Delegation was accompanied on his trip by Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, a member of the National Council's Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), and Nicolas Walder, a member of the FAC and of the Swiss Delegation to the French-speaking Parliamentary Assembly. The two national councilors also had the opportunity to meet a delegation from the National Assembly of Senegal.

African tour concluded in The Gambia
The Gambia was the last stop on Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis' trip to Africa. This was the first official visit of a Swiss Foreign Minister to this country. He held talks with Gambian Vice-President Isatou Touray and Interior Minister Yankuba Sonko, underlining the good relations between the two countries. Discussions focused in particular on human rights and the Blue Peace Initiative.

At the end of his trip to the African continent, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis visited the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality in The Gambia, which is active in training and professional reintegration. Finally, he visited a prison facility in Banjul.

The visit of the head of the FDFA to three sub-Saharan African countries (Mali, Senegal and The Gambia) and Algeria provided an opportunity to present to the authorities of those countries the priorities and objectives of the first MENA and sub-Saharan Africa strategies, recently adopted by the Federal Council.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–the Gambia

Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021-2024(pdf, 4795kb)

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 19.07.2023

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FDFA Communication

Federal Palace West
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Phone (for journalists only):
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Phone (for all other requests):
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