Wednesday, January 16, 2008
By Chibaula Silwamba
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Sinikka Antila has urged Zambian companies to take advantage of the Finnish Business Partnership (Finnpartnership) programme to form joint ventures with their Finnish counterparts.
The Finnpartnership is an initiative aimed at promoting cooperation between Finnish companies and business-oriented organisations and those in developing countries to enhance economic growth, diversify the economy and exports and reduce poverty in developing countries.
Giving details of the Finnpartnership and its benefits to Zambian businesses, Ambassador Antila encouraged companies in the country to approach Finnpartnership to identify potential Finnish business partners.
“Other objectives of the programme are to mobilize Finish investments and transfer of technology to developing countries and this will be done through cooperation between partners in a developing country and Finland,” said Ambassador Antila in an interview on Monday in Lusaka.
“Finnpartnership has a website, www.finnpartnership.fi, where Zambian business owners can post their details and profiles and the Finnpartnership will find suitable partners from Finland for them to set up joint ventures with.
But the response from Zambia is very low because at the moment there are only three companies that have shown interest. I will be very happy if many companies can benefit from this programme because all these services are free of charge.”
She said once the partnerships between Zambia and Finnish companies were formed, the Finnpartnership programme could provide funds for carrying out business studies.
“In addition, the programme can help in identifying financing sources, including risk capital, if so needed. There are no sector limitations and a wide range of partnerships will be supported as long as there is a Finnish company or business-oriented organisation involved with the aim of establishing economic cooperation with a partner in a developing country,” Ambassador Antila explained.
“However, companies looking for Finnish partners should be well established and have export experience.”
She said the priority countries for the first years of the programme would be Finland’s long-term partner countries which include Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
“Local cooperation funds administered by the Finnish embassy in Lusaka also plays an important role in the promotion of partnerships,” said Ambassador Antila. “These funds can be used by partners in Zambia for initial development of business ideas and identification of potential Finnish business partners.”