SECO’s mandate: Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth

SECO’s mandate is to enable sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This creates opportunities and prospects for people in the partner countries and reduces global risks.

SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s centre of expertise for all core economic policy issues, including economic cooperation and development. Its mandate is to enable sustainable and inclusive growth in its partner countries. “Inclusive” means that all segments of the population prosper from such growth, and “sustainable” means that it does not compromise the well-being of future generations. In turn, this reduces poverty and fragility. It also mitigates global risks such as economic and financial crises and climate change. And, in giving people better prospects at home, SECO also tackles one of the root causes of migration flows.

A man and woman working on a open electronic device.
A recycling centre in Colombia: An example of sustainable economic growth creating jobs for all skill levels in environmentally friendly facilities.

Cooperation with developing countries

SECO helps partner countries to create more and better jobs. It enables governments to set up effective institutions and deliver efficient public services. It helps them develop sustainable trade and a stronger competitive stance on international markets, and it encourages climate-smart business practices. SECO works to make partner countries more resilient. This places them in a stronger position to withstand economic and financial shocks and the impacts of climate change.


SECO encourages climate-friendly economic growth that benefits all segments of the population without compromising the well-being of future generations.


Cooperation with transition countries

SECO’s goal here is to support certain Eastern European states in setting up democratic, market-oriented systems. These partner countries are post-communist economies. The transition goal refers to the social and economic reforms in place since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Despite some considerable progress, much remains to be done in terms of reforms (e.g. in the public service), and new problems have emerged. One issue facing these countries is the risk of their reforms being inadequate or taking the wrong direction, which would lead to general disillusionment among the population. Another issue is the need to reduce poverty and social disparities.

Priority countries, supplementary measures and global themes

Middle-income countries (MICs) are home to 70% of the world’s poorest people. They also face the most extreme ecological problems. This is why SECO concentrates on MICs, with eight such partner countries in the South and five in the East. In addition, SECO carries out supplementary measures in some of the SDC’s priority countries and under Switzerland’s free trade policy. SECO is also active in certain global themes such as finance and trade, climate change, water, and migration.

EU enlargement contribution: Solidarity and self-interest

Switzerland has been helping to reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU since 2007. The partner states of this enlargement contribution are the thirteen countries that have acceded to the EU since 2004. Ten of these countries successfully completed their corresponding projects in 2017.

Switzerland’s contribution is an investment in Europe’s security, stability and prosperity. At the same time, Switzerland is establishing an important basis for solid economic and political relations with the EU and partner states. In September 2018, the Federal Council approved the dispatch on a second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states following a consultation procedure with broadly positive feedback. It is now for Parliament to make a decision regarding the relevant framework credits.

Last modification 29.03.2019

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