Suomi/Africa
Perspectives from Africa,
engagement from Finland
 
 

Understanding Africa

Representing Africans

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Fireworks at Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Fireworks in Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Zambia goes digital with Team Finland

During a recent business delegation of Finnish businesses to Zambia, Elisa Corporation won a tender to enable and support the provision of e-government services in Zambia. Timo Olkkonen, Ambassador of Finland to Zambia, responded to the win, saying, “This is a good example of what Team Finland cooperation can achieve.”

Ambassador Timo Olkkonen considers that the deal could open up other possibilities for Finland in developing Zambia’s information society. The deal was promoted through the efforts of the Team Finland network and development cooperation. Cooperation started in May 2013 when then Minister for Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb and Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala visited Zambia.

the expectation in Zambia is that e-government will stimulate new business and bring jobs (Photo: Juho Paavola)Risto Ojanperä, Vice President, Corporate Customers at Elisa and Roland Msiska, Secretary of the Cabinet of the President of Zambia, met at the Business Week event organised during the trip. After the meeting, the idea of providing government services electronically so that they would reach all citizens sprung up in Zambia. This led to the proposal for e-government in Zambia, under the theme: “Zambia Goes Digital”.

New business, new jobs, from the digital economy

Zambia’s long-term goal is to digitise all of the country’s 140 post offices. The offices will provide e-services to local businesses and citizens.

“A digital service channel will improve interaction between citizens and the government. This will spur new business and create jobs and knowledge,” says Msiska.

In March 2014, Zambians visited Finland to learn about the provision of digital services and the Finnish information society skills. The trip was financed through development cooperation funds and was part of Zambia’s private sector development programme, which receives support from Finland..

The Zambians held an open competitive bidding round, which Elisa won. Elisa is now beginning to plan self-service points combining citizens’ services with the intention of building them in connection with post offices.

Team Finland in action

The deal was promoted by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, which has kept Finland’s strong expertise in e-economy in the foreground. The active approach of the Finnish Embassy in Lusaka has also contributed to the realisation of the project.

Finnish enterprise, advancing African interests

The Team Finland network, which helps to build Finland’s economic external relations and assists the internationalisation of enterprises, advances the interests of Finland in the world at large. It promotes the internationalisation of Finnish enterprises, investments in Finland from abroad and Finland’s country brand.

The network brings together the actors and services in these fields. The core of the network is formed by State-financed organizations: ministries; diplomatic missions; Finpro; Tekes; Finnish cultural and academic institutes; Finnvera; Finnfund as well as the internationalisation services available regionally through the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

Outi Einola-Head.