The Private sector plays an important role in development cooperation

In developing countries, wealth and wellbeing are created from work carried out by people. Finland supports the development of business activities in developing countries and at the same time also utilises the expertise of Finnish companies. Development cooperation creates markets, work and contacts.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim at eradicating extreme poverty from the world and at securing wellbeing in an environmentally sustainable way. This can only be done when the public and private sectors work in cooperation.

In 2014, the UN estimated that developing countries should invest USD 3,300–4,500 billion per year to be able to reach the SDGs by 2030. Here companies play a central role as partners and as funders. 

At the same time, development cooperation is also needed as it strengthens the structures that provide an enabling environment for business activities. A well-functioning administration and an independent judiciary ensure stable conditions for business activities. An efficient public sector also serves the interests of the private sector. Education, in turn, ensures that competent workforce is available for companies. The public sector is also responsible for the planning and implementation of an infrastructure that makes entering the markets easier.

A growing private sector is an important employer also in developing countries. Africa is the continent with the youngest population. According to the African Development Bank and the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP), the labour markets in Africa indeed grow by 12 million people every year. 

Aid for Trade strengthens developing countries’ ability to trade

The private sector in developing countries will be creating the majority of future jobs and economic growth. Aid for Trade (AfT) is an international initiative aimed at improving the capacities of developing countries to participate in global trade and benefit from it.

Support is directed, for instance, to building productive capacity, strengthening internal and foreign trade, improving the operating environment for entrepreneurship and businesses, and building trade-related infrastructure.

In development cooperation targeted at companies, several forms of funding are available

Developing countries offer plenty of opportunities for Finnish companies. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports partnerships and business opportunities of Finnish companies in developing countries from the development cooperation funds. The activities must always be aimed at promoting the economic, social or environmental development in the target countries.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finnfund and Finnpartnership are members of the Team Finland network.

Some of the development cooperation funds are directed to development cooperation initiatives, which are preceded by competitive tendering. Information on open calls for tender can, as a rule, be found in the Hilma e-service for public procurements. Further information can also be found here.

There are several forms of funding that are directly aimed at companies. Further information on them can be found here.

The previously available concessional credits were abandoned in 2016.