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African immigrants to Switzerland

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Title: African immigrants to Switzerland  
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Subject: Emigration from Africa, Immigration to Europe, German immigration to Switzerland, Immigration to Switzerland, Crime in Switzerland
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African immigrants to Switzerland

African immigrants to Switzerland include Swiss residents, both Swiss citizens and foreign nationals, who have migrated to Switzerland from Africa. The number has quintupled over the period of 1980 to 2007, with an average growth rate of 6% per annum (doubling time 12 years). According to official Swiss population statistics, 73,553 foreigners with African nationality lived in Switzerland as of 2009 (0.9% of total population, or 4.3% of resident foreigners).[1] Since the census records nationality, not ethnic origin, there is no official estimate of the number of naturalized Swiss citizens from Africa.


Of the 73,553 African nationals recorded in 2007, 78% were considered permanent residents in Switzerland (including recognized refugees, accounting for about 8%), while the remaining 22% were asylum seekers.[2]

Permanent residents with African nationalities, organized by region of origin:
year 1980 1990 2000 2009
North Africa 6,205 10,905 15,469 20,415
East Africa 1,597 3,137 7,111 12,636
Central Africa 860 3,044 7,409 11,976
West Africa 1,390 2,601 6,488 10,842
Southern Africa 487 604 1,141 1,835
total 10,539 20,291 37,618 57,704

The largest group of residents of North African origin are from Morocco.[3] The above-average increase of residents from Central Africa is due to immigration from Angola, Cameroon and Congo (Brazzaville). Unofficial estimates exist for a number of African nations. For example, an estimated 1,500 people of Cape Verdean descent lived in Switzerland as of 1995.[4]

Asylum seekers

A third of Africans residing in Switzerland are asylum seekers. An additional unknown number have stayed in Switzerland as sans papiers after they were refused asylum.

There was a steep surge of asylum requests from criminals abusing the asylum system, entering Switzerland with the intention of pursuing petty crime and drug dealing.[5] The Nigerian ambassador to Switzerland, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, objected to du Boi-Reymond's statement as an undue generalization.[6]

The question of Algeria since 2006, which has however been stalled due to a refusal to ratify additional protocols on the part of Algeria.

Switzerland has signed a technical agreement on re-admittance in the case of repatriation of rejected asylum seekers with three African countries, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.[7] There is also a repatriation agreement with Nigeria, but this was suspended by Nigeria following the death of a Nigerian citizen during forced repatriation in March 2010.[8]

Notable people

Notable Swiss people of African origin are found mostly in sports, especially football, e.g. José Gonçalves, Gelson Fernandes, Gilberto Reis, Oumar Kondé, Bruce Lalombongo, Enes Fermino, Badile Lubamba, Hervé Makuka, Mobulu M'Futi, Ugor Nganga, Blaise Nkufo, Cédric Tsimba, Johan Djourou, Owusu Benson, Richmond Rak, Kim Jaggy. The first Swiss ever to play in the NBA, Thabo Sefolosha, is the Swiss-born son of a black South African immigrant.

Ricardo Lumengo, originally of Angola, is notable as the first black politician to be elected to the Swiss National Council (Swiss federal election, 2007).

See also


  1. ^ Ausländerinnen und Ausländer in der Schweiz - Bericht 2008 (German) (1196 KiB), Swiss Federal Statistical Office, page 72. Wohnbevölkerung nach Geschlecht und detaillierter Staatsangehörigkeit, Federal Statistical Office.
  2. ^ A total of 30% had residence status N (asylum seeker) or F (refugee) as of 2007. Federal Office of Statistics, p. 14.
  3. ^ Federal Office of Statistics
  4. ^ 1995 Cape Verdean Diaspora Population Estimates
  5. ^ Task-Force gegen Asylmissbrauch 11 April 2010.
  6. ^ Nigerianischer Botschafter verlangt Aussprache mit Schweizer Bundesamtschef 29 April 2010; [1] NZZ 29 April 2010.
  7. ^ Refugee repatriation debate rears its head 4 March 2010.
  8. ^ Nigeria setzt Ausschaffung faktisch ausser Kraft 16 April 2010.

External links

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Switzerland." The World Factbook. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  • Inside Africa Switzerland
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