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Press Releases, 6/10/2008

Prime Minister of Namibia to visit Finland

Press release 210/2008
June 10, 2008

Prime Minister Nahas Angula of Namibia will be in Finland for a working visit on 13–18 June.

He will have discussions on relations between Finland and Namibia and on topical issues pertaining to Africa with Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen. During his visit, Prime Minister Angula will also meet with Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

Angula will also make visits to Vantaa and Oulu, and will meet with city leaders. In Oulu he will participate in the National Mission Festival organised by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission and will negotiate with the University of Oulu concerning cooperation to develop the University of Namibia, prepared in spring. In Helsinki, Angula will meet with representatives of HAUS Finnish Institute of Public Management Ltd, which has contributed to the development of training systems for the Namibian public administration. In addition, he will meet with representatives of the Finland–Namibia Society.

Both Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba, a member of the delegation, attended Oshigambo Secondary School, which is perhaps the best known secondary school established by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Northern Namibia. Prime Minister Angula visited Finland often, arranging the studies of Namibian students at various educational institutes, before Namibia gained independence in 1990.

The long and special relationship that exists between Finland and Namibia has its origins in the work of missionaries that began already in the 19th century. From the late 1960s on, in the United Nations, Finland was a staunch supporter of Namibian aspirations for independence. When the country gained independence in 1990, Namibia became one of Finland’s largest development cooperation partners and remained so throughout the 1990s. Finland supported Namibia in developing the sectors of education, health care, forestry, water supply, the mining industry, environment protection, and central and regional government. Development cooperation disbursements to Namibia in the years 1970–2007 have totalled over 130 million euros.

A new phase in Finnish–Namibian relations began at the start of this year, when Finland’s traditional donor aid to Namibia ended, in accordance with a Government resolution. Finland wanted to concentrate the country’s aid to the poorest countries, and according to the OECD classification, Namibia had risen to the group of countries in the lower middle income bracket.

During the so-called transition period of 2004–2007, Finland and Namibia have proceeded from bilateral development cooperation to normal bilateral relations where the focus is on trade relations and cooperation between institutions.

Additional information: Counsellor Sanna Halinen, Department for Africa and the Middle East, mobile tel. +358 40 563 8691, and Administrator Petri Wanner, mobile tel. +358 40 731 4509




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Updated 6/10/2008

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