Africa-Press – Rwanda. What would it take to increase Rwanda, Finland economic cooperation? This is one of the questions Foreign Ministries of the two countries tried to address this week during a visit by Kai Sauer, the Finnish vice-minister for foreign affairs.
During his visit, Sauer met several government agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Meteorology Agency, and Ministry of Environment among others.
The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations as well as outlined avenues of cooperation going forward.
Among the aspects that featured include economic cooperation, cooperation in climate change curbing initiatives and peacekeeping.
Acknowledging that there is plenty of potential and opportunity for economic cooperation, Sauer said that as Rwanda embarks on becoming a financial hub. However, Sauer said that there is not much knowledge about Rwanda among the Finnish people which can be addressed by planning visits of Rwandan delegations composed of private and public sector players and vice versa.
“What we have proposed is forming a delegation from the public and private sector, pick areas of mutual cooperation and send them over and we can discuss and from there, a business delegation from there can visit here,” he said.
Increased economic cooperation could see more Finnish investments in the country as well as Kigali International Financial Centre serving as a hub for their investment in Africa. Taaleri Plc, a Finnish investment company is among investors of the Kigali Heights Mall.
With Finland’s world-renowned high coffee consumption, Rwanda would find a new market for one of the country’s most popular exports.
He said that the two countries share a lot in common and have several shared interests including fighting climate change, crisis management in peacekeeping among others.
“We have been observing Rwanda for some time and Rwanda is heading quite an interesting direction economically and politically. We have had some common interest such as promoting agenda 2030, fighting climate change, we are also committed to crisis management and peacekeeping, Rwanda is one of the largest contributors to UN Peace Keeping missions,” he said.
With the Ministry of Environment, Finland representatives engaged on circular economy, an environmental concept that Finland has become renowned for.
It is a system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources through reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, consequently reducing pollution and carbon emissions.
Finland also engaged Rwanda on a concept they are championing where principles of budgeting and financing also have a climate change perspective. The concept (much like Rwanda’s green scorecard) ensures that all government budgeting and procurement should be vetted against implications on climate change.
Rwanda Meteorology Agency and the Finnish National Institute of Metrology were also found to be avenues of cooperation that could be implemented soon.
The Finnish delegation meets the Rwandan side during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations in Kigali on Wednesday, December 9. / Photo: Courtesy