Finland’s Africa strategy – Towards stronger political and economic partnership

Finland’s Africa strategy – Towards stronger political and economic partnership

The Finnish Government has approved Finland's Africa strategy today. It will be used to diversify and deepen Finland’s relations with African countries, the African Union (AU) and regional organisations, with focus on political and economic relations.

The strategy covers the strategic priorities of Finland's Africa policy and its aim is also to ensure a more comprehensive and coherent approach to Finland’s Africa policy. The emphasis of the strategy is based on the Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy.

According to Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, significant changes have taken place in Africa in recent years. “Many African countries have experienced strong economic growth, the continent has become more integrated politically and economically, and the population is growing at a rapid rate. Africa has become more important strategically, geopolitically and in terms of commercial and economic relations. For instance, the ability of the African countries to adapt to climate change, preserve biodiversity and meet the challenges arising from population growth by providing young people with education, jobs and political power not only impacts development on the African continent, but also Europe and Finland.”

The perspective and target setting of the Africa strategy are new. The strategy does not focus on the development of Africa or development cooperation, but on the development of Finland’s relations with African countries. It emphasises the strengthening of mutually beneficial political, commercial, and economic relations.

Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari is of the view that there is great potential for building business relations between Finland and many African countries. The relations can be developed in a manner that will benefit both Finnish and African actors. “Among other things, the objective has been set to double trade between Finland and African countries from 2020 to 2030 and to increase investment in both directions.”

The preparations of the Africa strategy have been led by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in close cooperation with other ministries. Through an extensive consultation process, a wide range of actors from state institutions, business, science, research and education, as well as representatives of civil society, have also been involved in the preparation. African partners, such as the Finnish African diaspora and the ambassadors of African countries, have also been consulted in the process. Cooperation with various actors will continue throughout the Government's implementation of the strategy.

Finland will promote the objectives of the Africa strategy through bilateral relations with African countries, as an EU Member State, in cooperation with other Nordic countries, in international financial institutions and within the framework of the UN and other multilateral cooperation. The policies of the European Union’s recent Strategy with Africa are also taken into consideration in the strategy, as well as the objectives of Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

Inquiries:

Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs tel. +358 295 160 938

Tiina Vainio, Special Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 50 524 6559

Claus-Jerker Lindroos, Deputy Director General,tel. +358 295 351 234

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ e-mail addresses are in the form [email protected].