President Cyril Ramaphosa will host His Excellency President Sauli Väinämö Niinistö of the Republic of Finland on a State Visit to the Republic of South Africa.
President of Finland will undertake a State Visit to the republic, from 24 to 26 April 2023, at the invitation of President Ramaphosa. Initially the visit was planned in April 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The State Visit will be the first by a Finnish President to South Africa in more than twenty years. President Niinistö, however, visited South Africa in December 2013 to attend the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela.
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 3 years.
President Niinistö will be accompanied by a delegation of Finnish business leaders and a Business RoundTable will be hosted in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Cooperation held under the theme Building Smart, Secure, Sustainable Society Together.
The objective of the session is to strengthen trade and investment relations between South Africa and Finland through the mobilisation and facilitation of new investments, expansion and nurturing of existing Finnish investments in South Africa, as well as exploring opportunities for joint ventures in technology commercialisation in mutual sectors.
Most of the discussions will centre on possible opportunities in renewable energy; Information and Communication Technology; mining technology; packaging and food hygiene, construction and finance, that the South African and Finnish companies can work together in exploring.
The Presidential Round Table will be preceded by a Business-to-Business Matchmaking engagement between the South Africa and Finnish companies. The outcome of the two interactions is expected to be an increase in trade and investment between South Africa and Finland.
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. Like the other Nordics, they play an active role in global affairs, are strong advocates for multilateralism, have an excellent capacity and track record for peace and mediation efforts, and are global leaders in innovation.
Since 2010 Finland has been supportive of South Africa’s national priorities and continues to be a reliable partner in various sectors including maritime, science and technology, ICT and digitalization, environment, energy, education, skills development, agriculture and water.
President Niinistö will also be conducting a State Visit to Namibia during his Southern Africa visit. Within the SADC context, the Finnish have supported several programmes on sustainable water management. The Finnish engagement with Africa forms part of its strategic objective of increasing partnerships with Africa, including expanding its diplomatic presence, its support for the African Agenda and expanding economic relations. In this regard, Finland has adopted an Africa Strategy.
Finland is also a strong international partner in areas of various global issues such as strengthening multilateralism, international law, peacebuilding and mediation, the advancement of gender and human rights as well as around issues of renewable energy.