Decrypting Crypto-Colonialism and unveiling the Mask of Innocence : Switzerland’s Covert Colonial Designs and Continuity in Africa.

  • Juliana Safowaa Appiah University of Ghana
  • Roland Yeboah Mireku University of Ghana
Keywords: Crypto-colonialism, Colonialism without colonies, Coloniality, Colonial Matrix of Power, neocolonialism, post-colonial thought


Switzerland, an example of neutrality and peace, is among Western European countries least associated with colonialism. Switzerland has engineered and promoted a favorable public opinion of itself to the African continent. This article suggests, however, that the history of Switzerland in Africa is much less strange to colonialism than its image. Swiss soldiers, companies and individuals—often with either the explicit or implicit consent of the Swiss authorities—participated in and benefitted from the colonial ventures of European powers in Africa. At the same time, Switzerland pursued its own colonial projects that consisted of profitable trade relations and exporting the Swiss Weltanschauung (world view) tantamount to Western racist pseudoscientific ontology. Notwithstanding, the Swiss modus operandi, which worked in the shadow of bigger players and combined business with aid and colonialism with humanitarianism, concealed the role of Switzerland in the construction and maintenance of the colonial world order. For the same reason, Swiss colonialism was not argeted by the movement of decolonization, much the same way the metropoles of colonial rule were and thus had the possibility to continue. By projecting coloniality, the colonial matrix of power and postcolonial thought, this paper contributes to the existing intellectual debate on colonial complicity (including racism) of Switzerland. We unearth the mechanism through which Swiss colonialism manifested and the mutated form it has taken in the aftermath of the decolonization process.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2343-6530