The Republic of Mauritius is Switzerland's second most important trading partner in Subequatorial Africa, after South Africa. It boasts a significant community of Swiss expatriates as well as numerous tourists.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Mauritius
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The island of Mauritius became Switzerland's successor in taking over the 2012 Chair-in-Office of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, an indication of the close cooperation between the authorities of the two countries in this domain.
In becoming associated to the Schengen zone in December 2008, Switzerland lifted the visa obligation for Mauritius nationals as of 1 June 2009 when the agreement between the Schengen States and Mauritius entered into force. Reciprocity has been guaranteed for Swiss nationals by an agreement that entered into force in October 2010.
The Swiss ambassador resident in Pretoria is accredited to the President of Mauritius, while the Mauritian ambassador in Paris is vested with competence for Switzerland.
According to the statistics compiled by Mauritius, Switzerland, with a total of EUR 213 million, was the fourth most important trade partner outside the EU in 2011, following after the USA, China, and Russia. The statistics published by Swiss customs register a total of only CHF 72 million, but the place held by Mauritius is a reflection of the dynamism of the island's economy, the favourable business atmosphere, and the presence of substantial Swiss investments, e.g., in industry, commercial and tourist services, as well as in companies which re-invest abroad, in particular in India.
According to the Swiss statistics, exports of precision instruments, watches, and jewellery, and imports of precious metals, precious and semi-precious stones, are the principle goods that are traded.
Cooperation in the domain of education
The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the Ministry of Health of Mauritius have set up a cooperation agreement for the training of medical technicians. The HUG and the Island of Mauritius have already signed several cooperation agreements with humanitarian aims.
Scholars and artists from Mauritius can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss citizens in the Republic of Mauritius
At the end of 2015, there were 737 Swiss nationals living on the Island of Mauritius. An average of 17,000 Swiss tourists visit the island every year.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland appointed an honorary consul in Port Louis in 1862. He and his successor remained in function until 1910. With Mauritian independence in 1996, the honorary consulate was re-established, becoming a consulate-general in 1992. Prior to independence, the territory of Mauritius lay, on the diplomatic plane, within the radius of the Swiss Embassy in London. From 1968 to 1976, diplomatic relations with Mauritius lay within the remit of the Swiss Embassy in Addis Ababa, from 1976 to 2000, that of the Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, and since that time, Pretoria.
As a member of the International Organization of La Francophonie, Mauritius hosted the 1993 summit, which was the first at which a Swiss President (Adolf Ogi) participated.