Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Finland has received a boost with the arrival of the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Mr. Kai Mykkänen, in Nigeria with no fewer than 20 companies and two leading funding agencies with eyes on investment opportunities.
The visiting minister, who is coming to Nigeria with the firms as part of the activities to commemorate the 100th Anniversary year of Finland’s independence in Nigeria, signals the country’s sustained efforts to open new business frontiers and broaden the scope of its investments in Nigeria.
A statement made available to Vanguard by the Ambassador of Finland in Nigeria, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, said that business interest from Finland to Nigeria will continue to grow, citing last year’s visit by a Deputy Minister to Nigeria.
The ambassador explained that the Finnish Foreign Trade and Development Minister chose the milestone centenary year of Finland to promote and explore business opportunities in Nigeria with an impressive business delegation that included companies from sectors such as power, telecommunications, cleantech, education, and health & wellbeing.
According to her, the delegation had a full programme of three days in Abuja and Lagos, and came out of the experience satisfied that Nigeria offers ample opportunity for cooperation in all sectors.
The envoy said the delegation held discussions in several ministries, focusing on concrete actions and opportunities for cooperation.
They also held meetings with ministers of Foreign Affairs, Communication, Power, Works and Housing and others highlighting the many win-win opportunities.
In Abuja and Lagos, business to business meetings and discussions with international development finance institutions also took place.
At Abuja airport, the Minister had a tour of safety critical Finnish weather detection technology. The delegation also got a snapshot into the local start-up scene at the business accelerator Ventures Platform which partnered Finland earlier this year with the CodeBus Africa project.
An important renewable energy deal was announced during the visit, and at a lunch in Lagos, with the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and with the International Finance Corporation, the Finnish Minister highlighted his country’s recent commitment to a Finland-IFC climate fund.
In Lagos, an event was hosted around the theme of health and wellbeing. The Minister also had the opportunity to learn about the anti-human trafficking work of NAPTIP, and paid a visit to a UNFPA family planning project at Maitama District Hospital, as well as met representatives of the Nigerian-Finnish Association in Lagos.
At a networking reception hosted in Abuja by the Ambassador of Finland, Nigeria’s Communication Minister Hon. Barr. Adebayo Shittu stressed the importance of trade relations between Finland and Nigeria, focusing in particular on telecommunications.