Finland and Nigeria to boost relations

Both Finland and Nigeria have agreed to deepen and expand relations between both nations.

The Federal Government and its Finnish counterpart are determined to explore economic potentials towards trade and investments in both countries.

Though the volume of trade and investment portfolios have, in recent times, been abysmally low, the Finnish ambassador to Nigeria, Anneli Vuorinen, said at the weekend in Abuja that discussions are currently ongoing at the highest level of governments in Nigeria and Finland to ensure that their bilateral trade relations improve by tapping each country’s areas of comparative socio-economic advantages for their mutual benefits.

To create the needed forum for prospective investors to interact and share ideas and evolve strategies on realising the broad objectives of the new bilateral agenda, the Nigeria-Finland Trade Association, through its business networking platform, Nigerian-Finnish Business Group, has unveiled plans to host two business fora this week, to share information about Finland to Nigerian businesses and stakeholders.

This will precede a high powered trade delegation from Nigeria, which would be led by the minister of commerce and industry, along with some investors, businessmen, stakeholders and authorities, to visit Finland for the purposes of exploring opportunities in energy, environmental technology, mining and construction.

Briefing reporters about the proposed fora, scheduled for Abuja and Lagos between June 1 and 3 respectively, Mrs Vuorinen highlighted the potentials for improved Nigeria-Finnish bilateral relations in the years ahead, saying the events were planned as follow-up to recent exchange of visits by the leaders of governments of both countries.

She listed some of the visits as the March 2009 visit by the honorary president of Finland, Mrs Tarja Halonen, which was reciprocated by President Goodluck Jonathan (then as vice president) in May 2009.

Global leadership Ambassador Vuorinen, who identified Nigeria as a big economy with potentials for global leadership if the problems of corruption and insecurity are tackled head on, listed areas where Finnish companies could help in adding value to the Nigerian economy as climate change and the application of Finnish technologies in renewable energy and clean power production and of the sustainable products, processes and other services on offer by Finnish companies.

According to her, three Finnish companies are already helping to improve the power, mining, and clean environment situations of Nigeria.

Specifically, she listed the companies to include the power company – Wartsila- which currently has more than 15 sites in Nigeria and making up to 340 megawatts (MW) of electricity and the Geological Survey Agency of Finland, which “was involved in making the first geochemical mapping in Nigeria (and all of Sub-Saharan Africa).

On the clean environment technologies, the envoy said Nigeria could also benefit from the Cleantech-Industry of Finland, which could be relevant in the drive toward cleaner environment with the application of the Finnish Waste-to-energy technology in cities like Abuja or Lagos.

Finland has one of the world’s most dynamic and most developed economies.  They have well known global brands such as Nokia the consumer electronics company, and Linux the operating system.  Nigeria should definitely expand trade relations with the Fins given that they have world class companies. Finland benefits as it taps into one of Africa’s largest markets, especially in the growing cell and smart phone sector.  Something which Nokia i’m sure has noticed with great interest and delight.

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