MFA: Minister Virolainen to make a Team Finland visit Ethiopia and South Africa


Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will make a Team Finland visit to Ethiopia and South Africa from 12 to 16 March. She will be accompanied by a delegation representing 30 Finnish companies and other stakeholders.

”This in my first opportunity to see what happens when I sink my teeth into the business sector in Africa,” Anne-Mari Virolainen says.

"We will visit places that are very different from each other. The Ethiopian economy is in the vanguard of development but the country also receives more development cooperation assistance than any other country in Africa.  South Africa, for its part, is by far the most important trading partner for Finland in Sub-Saharan Africa," Virolainen continues.   

In the recent years, the Ethiopian government-led economy has experienced a 10 per cent growth rate. The trade between Finland and Ethiopia is still modest, but there are opportunities for expansion in particular for companies in the agriculture, water, energy, cleantech, education and consultancy sectors. 13 companies representing these sectors will   participate in the visit to Ethiopia (12 and 13 March). In Ethiopia, special emphasis will be paid to the potential for Finnish companies offered by international development finance institutions, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, which provide billions of euros to finance acquisitions from companies in the country. 

In Ethiopia, Minister Virolainen will also visit the Amhara region, where Finland is engaged in bilateral development cooperation projects.  Finland's development cooperation has been exceptionally successful in Ethiopia. For instance, thanks to the support, approximately 4.5 million Ethiopians have now access to clean water.  

Education and high technology in South Africa 

In South Africa (14 to 16 March), Minister Virolainen will be accompanied by a delegation representing 18 companies and other stakeholders, such as educational institutions, which specialise in health technology, education and ICT.

The Republic of South Africa with its market of 55 consumers is the most developed economy in the African continent. In 2017, Finland's exports to South Africa amounted to EUR 293 million and imports reached EUR 118 million. Examples of large local employers include Kone, Konecranes, Nokia and Outotec. In addition, nearly 100 Finnish companies are represented in the country.

The business delegations are coordinated by Business Finland.

Companies taking part in the visit to Ethiopia from 12 to 13 March:

  • Aimo Kortteen Konepaja Oy
  • Econonet Group/Dewaco Oy
  • FCG International
  • Finnfund Oy 
  • PEL-Tuote Oy
  • Sampo Rosenlew Oy
  • Simosol Oy
  • Soprano Oyj
  • Vaisala Oy
  • Vakava Technologies Ltd Oy
  • Valoe Corporation
  • Wärtsilä Corporation
  • OmniAgria Ltd

Companies taking part in the visit to South Africa from 14 to 16 March:

  • BEAM Innovation Funding Program
  • Bittium
  • Commit
  • David Health Solutions Oy
  • elfGroup Cyber Security Services
  • Fiare
  • Finnfund
  • Genano Oy
  • Goodmill Systems
  • Granite
  • Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
  • JAMK University of Applied Sciences
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks SA
  • Prodiags Oy
  • Rugged Tooling Oy
  • Skhole
  • Soprano Oyj
  • Tecnotree Oyj

Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser,  tel. +358 40 352 0463
Eeva Alarcón, Team Leader (matters concerning Ethiopia), tel. +358 295 351 436 and
 Sanna Halinen, Team Leader (matters concerning South Africa), tel. +358 295 350 562.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi


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