Business opportunities in Africa are becoming increasingly visible – and so is the interest of Finnish companies

October 11th, 2022

African countries are becoming more and more interesting for Finnish companies. During fall 2022, several events focused on African markets have been filled with participants. A whopping 62 % of Finnpartnership funding has been granted to Finnish projects in African countries. Finnpartnership is also supporting Finnish projects in Africa through its new regional coordinator in Africa.

During autumn 2022, several events focusing on African markets have been arranged for Finnish companies. These include the education visit to TOSSE fair in Nigeria, visits of business delegations from both Ghana and Sierra Leone, the Growth from Africa seminar, and the Finnish-African society’s business seminar. The interest among Finnish companies towards the events has been remarkable, and many of the events have been fully booked well in advance.

The growing interest towards Africa is also visible in the use of Finnpartnership’s services. In 2022, no less than 62 % of Business Partnership Support funding has been granted to projects targeting Africa. The share of projects in Africa has doubled from 2016, when Finnpartnership decided to actively start to increase the amount of projects aiming for Africa.

Growth from Africa seminar provided information on African markets to Finnish companies –recording now available

The large continent of Africa has demand for many types of products and services. Its young population, urbanization and growing middle-class are opening opportunities for Finnish enterprises.

Together with Finnfund, Kasvu Open and Teknologiateollisuus, Finnpartnership arranged a seminar titled “Kasvua Afrikasta” (“Growth from Africa”) in Helsinki on October 6th. The seminar shared information and experiences on African markets through presentations from e.g. the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Skinnari, Vesa Perälä of education company Claned, and marketing expert Riku Vassinen of the company hasan & partners.

The hybrid event attracted a total of 170 participants, who praised the event for its highly practical and informative content. The event has also spurred several discussions among participants eager to start business in Africa. Both Finnpartnership and Finnfund can fund and assist sustainable projects in Africa.

You can watch a recording of the event (unfortunately only in Finnish) here until January 6th, 2023. Starting at 50:30, Finnpartnership’s presentation provides an overview of our services to projects targeting African markets, as well as a look at the types of projects we’ve funded in recent years.

The annual business seminar of the Finnish-African Society was focused on sustainable infrastructure.

The decade of sustainable infrastructure development for Africa

On September 29th, 2022, the Finnish-African Society held their annual business seminar promoting the current development in Africa. Since 1964, the Finnish-African Society has been facilitating cross-continental partnerships and diplomatic missions that promote and facilitate trade and investment promotion.

The theme of this year’s seminar was focused on the need for sustainable infrastructure development for Africa. With a growing population and economy there is also a need for energy and infrastructure to cover the growth. Global warming is at the same time causing draughts which on the other hand makes the soil incapable of swallow the rains when they occur. Hence infrastructure must be designed in a sustainable way to cope with the changing environment.

During the seminar, EUs Global Gateway was also highlighted in a digital message by Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, and in a speech by Juha Savolainen, Deputy Director General or the Foreign Affair of Finland. Global Gateway is a new European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. Between 2021 and 2027, Team Europe, meaning the EU institutions and EU Member States jointly, will mobilize up to EUR 300 billion of investments around the world and especially in Africa. Part of the funds will therefore be channeled by Team Finland institutions such as Finnvera and Finnfund.  

Kenya’s outlook post August 2022 general elections

From summer 2022, Finnpartnership’s team has been strengthened by the addition of Elizabeth Okunda, who works as the Regional Coordinator for Africa. Elizabeth’s tasks include assisting Finnish companies in finding local networks and partners.

Elizabeth is stationed in Kenya, one of Africa’s largest economies, and follows its developments closely. Elizabeth’s has written an analysis on the impact of Kenya’s recent elections to the government’s business priorities and focus sectors, which you can now read here.