Business interest from Finland to Nigeria appears to be growing. Last year’s visit by a Deputy Minister and around a dozen companies was this November followed by a Ministerial level trade mission and 20 companies, including two important funding agencies. The visit was the highlight of the 100th Anniversary year of Finland’s independence in Nigeria.
The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of Finland Mr. Kai Mykkänen chose the milestone centenary year of Finland to promote and explore business opportunities Nigeria with an impressive business delegation that included companies from sectors such as power, telecommunications, cleantech, education, and health & wellbeing. The group 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 delegation held discussions in several ministries, focusing on concrete actions and opportunities for cooperation. Meetings with Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Communication, Power, Works and Housing and others were eye opening in 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 meeting 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.