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Switzerland celebrates 727

16 August 2018

Switzerland was founded in 1291 and turned 727 this year.  Ambassador of Switzerland to South Africa, Helene Budliger Artieda hosted a reception on 1 August to celebrate this milestone. Innovation was this year’s theme and guests were taken on a journey of the visionaries that contributed to making Switzerland the innovation capital of the world.

Photo: Ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda and Deputy Minister Andries Nel raising a toast. Pictured left is Kgosi Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi, the king of the Royal Bafokeng Nation

One of the innovations was a show house built by CITRA, a subsidiary of a Swiss company on the property of the Swiss Ambassador’s Residence.

The company offers  unique innovative building systems, and its advantages are building faster, less building costs, less ongoing costs and less carbon emissions and energy consumption.

South Africa is one of Switzerland's most important economic partners on the African continent. The bilateral trade volume reached approximately CHF 1.8 billion in 2016. Switzerland primarily imported precious metals, in particular aluminium and platinum, while South Africa imports pharmaceuticals, machines, precision instruments and watches. In 2016, Switzerland was the ninth-largest foreign investor in South Africa.

There are more than 100 Swiss companies operating in South Africa employing approximately 50,000 people. Swiss-South Africa cooperation extends to among others science, technology, education, training and finance

South African Deputy Minister Andries Nel of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs speaking at the reception highlighted the cooperation between Switzerland and South Africa. In particular he remembered his interactions with various previous Swiss Ambassadors in the development of the Small Claims Courts in South Africa. During his tenure as deputy minister of Justice and Constitutional Development he was tasked with this responsibility of giving access to justice for all. The Swiss government has been a consistent supporter of that program he said.

In his current portfolio he thanked the Swiss for providing resources and technical expertise relating to South Africa’s rapid urbanisation.

Guests were entertained at the reception by the Swiss Choir and multi award winning South African singer and song writer Samkelo Mdolomba. Raclette, a cheese that originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, and which was mentioned in medieval writings as a nutritious meal, was enjoyed by guests.



September 2018







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