Finnish Ambassador in Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda

Finnish Ambassador Riitta Swan

Salaam kutoka kwa Balozi, Dar es Salaam

I started as the Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi in June 2019. Africa is a new experience to me and I am excited to learn more about it.

My previous assignment was as the Ambassador of Finland in Abu Dhabi. During the four years there, I learned a lot of the Arab world and culture and Islam. I believe this experience will be of real value to me in Tanzania as well. These countries are very different in many ways and I will carefully keep in mind the historically and culturally unique features of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finland’s activities in Tanzania have historically focused on development cooperation, after all Tanzania is our first development cooperation partner. While that is still among Finland’s priorities, I hope that in the future, economic relations between our two countries will increase. Naturally, in all of our activities we have to bear in mind the context set by the political and economic development in Tanzania. Our attitude is also important; we will not come to tell how things should be done in Tanzania. Our role is to discuss, influence and share our experiences and best practices.

Trade promotion was my main task in Abu Dhabi, and I wish to use this experience in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. I am pleased that the Business Finland office in Nairobi has received more resources and can now better serve Finnish business interests in Tanzania.

My career in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has by now lasted more than 30 years. This has given me a wide perspective on diplomatic work and its possibilities. In addition to bilateral relations, it essentially includes cooperation with various partners, international organizations, the European Union and NGOs.

I hope to have active relations with Finns living in Tanzania and the Finnish NGO’s working in the country. You are my guides to this country that is new to me, and close partners. With efficient coordination and sharing of information, I am sure we can reach excellent results.

Riitta Swan