Finland to support Nigeria’s economic diversification

Aliyu Othman, Abuja

The Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Pirjo Soumela Chowdhury has assured the Nigerian government that they will support the planned diversification of the economy to promote development.

The Ambassador who said this in Abuja in a special Voice of Nigeria programme, In The News, added that Nigeria and Finland’s bilateral relations is a win-win situation that had been made suitable for the two nations.

She said the decision by Nigeria to diversify the economy was a very wise priority with the crash of crude oil in the international market.

Ms. Chowdhury said the recent Finnish business delegation to Nigeria led by the Deputy Minister for External Economic Affairs, Mr. Matti Anttonen had been able to open new grounds for the two friendly nations.

“I have to say I’m very happy with the visit of the Deputy Minister and business delegation and I had very good feedback from the businesses that were involved and others, that was a good achievement”

The Finland Ambassador called on other foreign players to contribute to the realisation of the diversification drives of the Nigerian government for the desired results.

Increased Investment

She said her desire to make Finland more known by Nigerians and Nigerians to be more known in Finland would ensure more trade and investments between the two nations in the near future.

The Finnish Envoy with concurrent accreditation to Benin, Ghana and Liberia said other areas of interests for trade and investments are in the areas of Education, Health and Aviation with Nigeria.

“We are focusing very must on promoting trade and economic relations and I’m passionate about that because I believe that that is the way to sustainable people relationship and win-win situation

Gender equality

Ms. Chowdhury said the challenge before the women folk was the same all over the world and there is work to do on gender inequality everywhere in the world.

She said “gender issue is human rights issue, there is no reason why women will not have the same right as men and it’s a waste for any country not to use the full potentials and capacity of their population in which the women are always about half”

“it borders me anywhere in the world that women in many ways are not equal with the men, even in Finland we have not achieved full gender equality, so we really have to work for it”

The Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria said they had supported gender issues around the world in relations with partners and funding through United Nations and development cooperation and issues on UN women.

“ It’s our strongest priority area and it doesn’t matter which government we have in Finland always it is at the centre of our attention, gender equality and empowerment of women and even in Nigeria  the first time I speak it was on gender equality and the fact of being a woman ambassador it’s a big massage ”

African experience

Ms. Chowdhury said before coming to Nigeria as an ambassador, she knew that Nigeria is a very active regional and global player since her days in the UN and expressed her commitment to work towards improved relations between Nigeria and Finland and other West African countries with concurrent accreditation.

“Nigeria is a very interesting place and important player, the largest economy in Africa and there is a lot that I can still do in the area of Finland-Nigeria relations, so there is a challenge and there is a work to do”

She described Nigerians as dynamic, active, hard working and versatile people with capacity to manage challenges and there are one or two things that Finland could learn from Nigeria.

The Finland Ambassador said she will work towards active relations to boost trade and economic activities and other areas of mutual benefits to the two friendly nations throughout her stay in Nigeria.