Nam/Finland relations increase trade cooperation: Schlettwein

WINDHOEK: Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein says the existing political and diplomatic relations between Namibia and Finland will foster deeper relations in the areas of trade and economic cooperation.

Schlettwein said this on Monday at the opening of the one-day training session for Namibian companies which are interested in participating in a Namibian Trade and Investment Mission to Finland from 31 May to 08 June this year.

He said the level of cooperation in these areas is currently very low, although there is great scope and potential.

“I wish therefore to commend the Embassy of Finland in Namibia for its effort and initiatives such as this that seek to promote closer and mutually beneficial economic relations,” said Schlettwein.

He noted that The Namibian government is making efforts to encourage business linkages and enhanced trade between the two countries as evidenced by the reciprocal State visits by the Heads of State of the two countries in 2011 and 2013.

The minister said the role of private investment and trade as drivers of industrial and economic development cannot be over-emphasised, and it is for this reason that the two governments are creating the necessary environments and platforms for increased business-to-business interactions and sharing of information on business opportunities on both sides.

“Finland’s technology and innovation can find a home and use in Namibia as our country seeks to transform and diversify the structure and content of her economy to the level where manufacturing, innovation and the development of value chains assume centre stage,” he added.

Schlettwein said Namibia is interested in seeing exports of the country’s products to Finland, and likewise to see a flow of investments from Finland into Namibia and joint venture partnerships between Finnish and Namibian companies.

The minister noted that an increase in the flow of investment, technology and trade is crucial and will enable Namibia to add value to its resources, as well as producing some of the consumer goods that it imports in large quantities.

“It also enable us to improve our balance of payments and to ensure sustained economic growth and consequent gainful employment opportunities, income re-distribution and poverty alleviation,” he said.

Schlettwein will lead a business delegation consisting of 29 business people to a trade and investment mission to the cities of Helsinki, Tampere, Seinajoki and Rovaniemi in Finland.

The business people are drawn from sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, mining, tourism, housing, fishing, transport and logistics.