Finland focuses on commercial cooperation in Zambia

Bilateral development cooperation between Finland and Zambia will soon end, and Finland will concentrate on strengthening commercial cooperation between the countries. 

Zambian workers with helmets on.

Finland's last grant-based development cooperation project in Zambia, Accelerated Growth for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Zambia (AGS) Programme, improves businesses’ capacity to create jobs and pay taxes. Through the programme, Finnish businesses find suitable local partners that are prepared to collaborate in order to increase the volume of trade. Funding is not channelled via the Government of Zambia.

Zambia has remained a politically stable and safe country. Following a period of slower growth, the economy is expected to pick up, especially due to the predicted global price rises of copper.  However, growth is hampered by the fact that the country is struggling with a heavy debt load. Therefore, Zambia has to put in place a restructuring plan to repay its debts.

Rising raw material prices will improve Zambia's opportunities to reach its goal to become a middle-income country by 2030. The challenges of the Zambian economy include poorly diversified economy, high dependence on copper exports, and the fastest population growth in the world. More than half of the people of Zambia live in poverty. Sharp economic inequalities are likely to slow down social development and societal change.

Zambia has been long among Finland’s partner countries for bilateral development cooperation. The countries have worked for several years to diversify the relationship, and the importance of trade relations, in particular, has increased. Efforts are also made to strengthen political dialogue and cooperation in international forums.  

Finland will not launch a new Country Programme in Zambia after the programme for 2016–2019 has expired. The only ongoing development cooperation project is the AGS Programme in 2018–2022.

In previous years, Finland’s development cooperation in Zambia has focused on, for example, the forest, natural resources and social welfare sectors. Cooperation with higher education institutions has been supported through the HEI ICI Programme (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument). 

Commercial cooperation

In recent years, the annual value of trade between Finland and Zambia has ranged between EUR 20–40 million, and the majority of the items have been machines, equipment and means of transport exported to meet the needs of the Zambian mining industry.

Finnish companies are showing increasing interest in Zambia. Sectors that are interesting for Finnish companies include renewable energy, agriculture and forestry, construction, ICT, education, and mining and environmental technologies. 

Finnish companies and Finnfund have also made investments in Zambia. In the past few years, the Embassy in Lusaka has organised Finnish Week of Business events. The virtual event in April 2021 was attended by approximately 300 representatives of Finnish and Zambian companies and other operators. 

Team Finland cooperation 

Finland wants to double its trade with African countries in 2020–2030 and, during the same period, efforts will be made to significantly increase Finnish companies’ investments in Africa and African companies’ investments in Finland.

At the same time, Finland and Zambia are exploring new ways to broaden the economic relations between the countries. The Team Finland network uses financial instruments designed for commercial cooperation.

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