On the second day of his trip to Mozambique, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis visited Swiss humanitarian aid projects in the country. In Beira in central Mozambique he saw first-hand the scale of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in March 2019 and the measures taken in its wake.
Switzerland was among the first to provide assistance after Cyclone Idai in central Mozambique in March and Cyclone Kenneth in the north of the country in April. Mr Cassis was clearly moved by the devastation wrought by the two tropical cyclones, which affected some two million people. “I am glad that Switzerland had the means to make a swift and effective contribution on the ground to helping those affected,” he said after his visit to Beira. High-ranking local government representatives thanked Mr Cassis in person for the unequivocal, effective assistance provided by Switzerland and the solidarity demonstrated by the Swiss people.
In the wake of both cyclones, Swiss Humanitarian Aid – part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – focused on providing clean water, sanitation and emergency shelters. In addition, the SDC gave financial, material and personnel support to long-standing international partner organisations including the International Organization for Migration and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. In total, the SDC provided CHF 3.5 million in emergency aid and seconded 24 experts to Mozambique after the cyclones.
“Aid provided in concert with international partners not only enables us to bring Swiss values and qualities to bear on the ground, but also strengthens our position in the international community,” said Cassis.
Development cooperation since 1979
Switzerland has been active in development cooperation in Mozambique since 1979 and is currently focusing its efforts on three priority areas: employment, health and good governance. “A peaceful solution to the decades-long civil war is crucial for the country's economic and social development,” said Cassis. “For this reason, I am very pleased that the peace accord brokered with Switzerland's support was signed yesterday, as it will contribute greatly towards achieving this.
Relations between Switzerland and Mozambique have deep roots. As early as the 19th century, missionaries from the French-speaking part of Switzerland formed a significant part of the then Portuguese colony. Switzerland established a representation in Mozambique in 1922. It was upgraded to an embassy in 1977, following the country's independence in 1975. Mozambique has great economic potential, with rich deposits of gold, coal and natural gas reserves. A Swiss-Mozambican chamber of commerce was founded in 2017 to capitalise further on the potential for trade and investment between Switzerland and Mozambique.
Mr Cassis travelled to Mozambique with Council of States member Damian Müller (FDP.The Liberals) and National Councillor Thomas Aeschi (Swiss People's Party).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Federal Council, Switzerland.