8 November 2018

Namibia: Finland Calls for More Collaboration With Namibia

Finnish minister of economic affairs Mika Lintilä has called for more collaboration between Namibian and Finnish business people.

This comes after that country's minister came to Namibia for a business seminar, heading a team of Finnish business people to promote exports to Namibia a fortnight ago.

The business seminar was themed 'Finland World Ideas' on cleantech, digitalisation, education and mining.

The business delegation accompanying the minister had as many as 50 representatives from companies and institutions in the cleantech, digitalisation, education and mining sectors.

"Namibia has a great opportunity to take a leap directly to modern waste handling, including efficient recycling and the use of waste as the source of energy. Reliable and sustainable energy systems are crucial to our societies. We need more battery technologies to reserve the energy at peak periods. For batteries, we need more and more minerals, which are also a scarce resource," Lintilä said.

He stressed that the world is currently facing challenges that are hard to predict or even understand, adding that climate change, waste management issues and the scarcity of energy are challenges faced everywhere.

"Waste management and waste to energy is very topical in every corner of the world that I have visited. Cities are taking action to shift from landfilling to more advanced waste management. Rural areas are struggling with the scarcity of infrastructure. It is obvious that we need to be smarter than we are to run our economies, to combat climate change, and the growing needs in the digital age," the economic minister explained.

Lintilä added that the role of international cooperation is evident, saying it is encouraging to see that strongly growing economies have taken an active role and are seeking the best technical solutions to reform their systems.

"We need to work together. That is why I am proud to say that we have some of our best companies from the fields of clean technology, mining, education and digitalisation here. We have developed smart and sustainable systems, and are happy to share our experiences and to find the best win-win-solutions to excel together," he stated.

"Bilateral cooperation is needed more than ever. I really look forward to all the discussions with Namibia, and hope for some seeds of growth being planted. Another focus is public-private-partnerships. It helps us to run in new areas of cooperation. Our innovative smart and clean solutions in mobility, energy, buildings, water and waste management can be further adjusted to fit your requirements, in partnership with local enterprises", the visitor noted.

In an interview, Lintilä said he was satisfied with the trip to Namibia.

"Companies and institutions are very interested in Namibia as it is a good country to invest in, and it is a good country for cooperation with Namibians. Most of those institutions see Namibia as a good gate to the rest of Africa because we have a long history together. Our relationship spans 150 years," the Finnish minister said.

He added that Finland and Namibia are small countries, who share similar thoughts on poverty eradication. The two countries are also pragmatic, and this is an asset.

Mark Zoeters, business development manager at energy giant Wärtsilä, said once Namibia fully embraces renewable energy technologies, the country may move from being a net importer of energy, and even end up exporting energy to other countries within the Southern African Power Pool.

Zoeters, who was part of the Finnish delegation, told The Namibian that Wärtsilä's flexible solutions would enable a transition to a more sustainable and modern energy system for Namibia.

Their solutions support the optimisation of local electricity supply by integrating renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV, energy storage, and flexible generation capacity.

- charmaine@namibian.com.na, twitter: Char_Ngatjiheue.

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