Fifty-five years after it shut its consulate-general office in Nigeria, the Swiss government inaugurated a new office in Lagos late Tuesday.
Declaring the office open, Didier Burkhalter, Switzerland’s federal counselor, and head of foreign affairs, said the Nigerian office is the second in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The opening of this second consulate-general of Switzerland in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Cape Town, marks a very special day for us,” he said.
“Switzerland is officially returning to the place where its long-standing friendship with Nigeria started 55 years ago: the exciting city of Lagos!
“Ever since the opening of our embassy, Nigeria has been at the heart of our foreign policy on Africa.”
He said Nigeria has not lost her importance in his country’s foreign policy.
Burkhalter also said the economic significance of Nigeria could not be “overstated”, adding that it was “one of the main reasons” that the consulate-general had been reopened.
He said Swiss businesses and people attached much importance to Nigeria, especially Lagos.
“As the biggest economy in the continent, Nigeria not only plays a major role in shaping developments in Africa, this position also enables Nigeria to contribute to economic growth worldwide,” he said.
“Lagos is to Nigeria what Nigeria is to Africa, as an economic heart, with a variety of business manufacturing, trading, cultural exchanges, fashion and entertainment.
“This is the reason why Swiss companies are establishing themselves in Lagos and expanding their operations here and in this country as a whole.”