President Cyril Ramaphosa says he and his Finnish counterpart President Sauli Niinistö are looking forward to engaging with businesses from both Finland and South Africa on how to improve trade and investment flows between the two countries.
“A great deal of work is already happening in this regard… It is our collective wish to see the bilateral relationship thrive and improve, especially with regards to reciprocal trade and investment,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President was speaking at a media briefing during the State Visit by His Excellency President Niinistö at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.
He announced that Gauteng recently entered into a cooperation agreement with the government of Finland in the fields of renewable energy and ICT infrastructure, and towards the creation of a business corridor.
The President said that the two countries have agreed to expand Finnish-South African cooperation in the fields of water resource management, early childhood development, as well as out-of-school youth and adult education.
“We have agreed to the proposal of EU member states that the EU-AU Data Flagship Programme’s regional hub should be in South Africa
“As South Africa and Finland, we expressed our shared commitment to preserving and strengthening the rules-based multilateral system,” he said.
President Ramaphosa highlighted that their discussions included several issues of regional and international significance, and explored ways in which they can collaborate to drive effective responses to the major issues facing humankind today.
“These include wars, the threat of climate change, and the economic inequalities worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. We agreed that a world free of conflict, instability, poverty, inequality, and underdevelopment is our highest aspiration, and that deepening our solidarity and cooperation is paramount,” the President said.
He said Finland is a valued friend of the South African people and a longstanding partner in development.
Bilateral relations between Finland and South Africa are deep rooted due to Finnish support for the liberation movements in Southern Africa.
Relations have grown since 1994 in all areas of bilateral engagement and Finnish investment is a major priority for both countries, with over R2 billion in new investments in the last three years.
Finland is an important partner to South Africa and, despite its small population and territory; it is amongst the most developed countries in the world and provides valuable trade, investment and development cooperation to South Africa. – SAnews.gov.za