• Says globalisation, free and fair trade create win-win opportunities

Peace Obi

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of Finland, Mr. Kai Mykkänen in a recent visit to Nigeria has commended the country for the active participation of her youth population in the economic development of the country as industry players and entrepreneurs in various sectors.

The minister, who visited Nigeria with a business delegation of over 20 companies from Finland from November 15-17, remarked that Nigeria is uniquely blessed with youth entrepreneurs who are running their own businesses. He noted that it is one of the areas Finland would learn from the country.

Visiting with a business delegation of over 20 companies, Mykkänen said that it was a reflection of the increasing interest of Finnish industry and commerce in the growing markets of West Africa, especially Nigeria. Adding that the business promotion visit would enable them to understand how they could help Nigeria develop bilateral trade by providing expertise and necessary finances for projects in areas like energy, water treatment and waste management.

The minister who disclosed that Nigeria and Finland have continued to record impressive progress in their bilateral and business relationships said that it hopes to “identify companies which we have on board, help them to engage with Nigerian counterparts, ministries and private sectors.” And that the visiting companies represent world-class know-how and expertise in cleantech, ICT, education, energy, health, and well-being, among others

The minister, who described his first visit experience to the country as well as the continent of Africa as an interesting one, said that the visit would offer many interesting opportunities for local companies as well as the public sector. Adding that Finland believes that globalisation, free and fair trade create many win-win opportunities for countries with common interest.

According to him, “We are here to help our development agencies like Fin-Pro and other ministries to help Nigeria to develop. Already, Fin-Pro is having necessary investments here. Basically, this is a trade promotion in the sense that those companies have solutions when it comes to recovering of oil-spilled land, energy, healthcare, technology, efficiency of operations, education, among others.

“Finland’s approach combines public-private partnerships with high-level technological expertise, and the ability to develop practical solutions for tackling global and local challenges. The Finnish economy is one of the most competitive in the world. Adopting new technologies and fostering a culture of innovation have been important success factors,” he said.

Speaking at a reception hosted by the Nigerian-Finnish Association in honour of the Finland minister at Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. PirjoSuomela-Chowdhury appreciated everyone for making the business delegation a success. Describing the business delegation’s visit to Nigeria as being significant, she said that it would further strengthen the business ties between the countries, especially as the country prepares to mark her forthcoming 100th year as an independent nation.

According to her, considering the long existing mutually beneficial relationship the countries have been enjoying, it is hoped the trade promotion visit would also strengthen as well as pave way for greater opportunities.

“We are very pleased to continue with Nigeria and Nigerian businesses towards strengthening business and trade relations between the two countries. Let this cooperation continue and lots more to do in the future,” she said.

Speaking also, the President of the Nigerian-Finnish Association, OtunbaGbenga Daniel, welcomed the Finland minister along with his business delegation. The President who was represented by the MD, Kresta Laurel Ltd, Engr. DideoluFalobi urged the delegation to feel at home.

Assuring them of being in a place where government and the people are committed to creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, he said that Nigeria has been a long-standing friend of Finland and that as the first country Nigeria started a business relationship with soon after her independence, that Nigeria is always happy to received visitors from Finland.

Speaking further, Falobi assured the delegates of the Nigerian-Finnish Association’s support in navigating through the country’s business environment. Adding that they are in the right and best business environment in the African continent,

 “Nigeria is a country that its hospitality is second to none; blessed young population as well as dynamic and hard working people. You are in a country where returns on investment remain high when compares to other countries in the Africa continent.