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Kai Mykkänen

TANZANIA - Diplomacy

Friends of the Earth

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland

Bio

Kai Mykkänen has served in his current position since July 2016, and is an economist with a master’s in social sciences in addition to being a politician and member of the National Coalition Party. An MP since 2015, prior positions have included special adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries, as well as posts in the East Office of Finnish Industries Oy, Bearing Point Finland Oy, and Sampo.

“Finland has a lot of expertize in forestry, energy, mining, geospatial technology, clean technology, and innovation.“

Health and education represent to crucial pillars of Tanzanian’s social and economic development strategy. What programs could Finland implement in Tanzania to improve education and healthcare in the East African country?

Until 2015 Finland’s major contribution to financing education and healthcare was through providing general budget support to Tanzania. We are glad that important results have been achieved in these sectors, in particular what comes to broadening access to primary education. Finland is known for having a highly-ranked education system. We would be happy to share our educational expertise with Tanzania and other African countries. Finland can provide solid expertise on, for example, teacher education, including technical and vocational education, curriculum development, and digitalization. In Finland almost all young students who finish their compulsory education after secondary school continue to studies. Vocational education is an attractive education sector in Finland as almost half of those youngsters choose vocational education. This sector is developed in close cooperation between the public and private sectors in order to improve the skills of the workforce, to respond to skills needed in the world of work and to support lifelong learning.

President Magufuli’s ambition is to transform Tanzania from being an aid recipient to a stand-alone economy. How is Finland helping Tanzania to achieve such a transformation?

We think Tanzania stands a good chance of being successful in this transformation. Finland is very supportive in these important efforts. Over the past decade sub-Saharan Africa has been one of the fastest growing areas of the world. Despite decreasing commodity prices the economic growth rate will remain well above the average growth rate in Europe. Tanzania has boosted its revenue collection significantly to reduce aid dependency. Finland stands ready to support Tanzania to build sustainable systems for revenue and tax collection. We are in discussions with the Tanzania revenue authority about how Finland could support these efforts together with other development partners, many of whom already are participating for example in TRA’s Tax Modernization Programme. The success of the transformation will ultimately depend on Tanzania maintaining its sound macroeconomic policies for supporting growth and generating employment for people, especially for the growing youth population. We see a lot of action taken and support the government in efforts to improve public governance, fiscal management, and domestic revenue, which are all critical elements in the process to transforming the country. The creation of employment and livelihoods is one main element of Finland’s collaboration in Tanzania. Finland will concentrate its efforts on two areas, the national innovation system and forestry. Both of them are identified by the Tanzanian Five Year Development Plan II as priorities for national development, forestry having a close link to the national action against climate change. They are also areas which will benefit from Finland’s experience and know-how. To boost the economic development in developing countries the Finnish government has also decided to increase funding for public investment, creating a supportive environment for economic growth. This will help the private sector to generate economic growth itself. The Finnish government has also allocated over EUR500 million for new funding for this effort during this cabinet’s four-year term. Our new Public Sector Investment Facility (PIF) will be launched later this year. PIF will provide subsidized loans to public entities in developing countries, enabling investments that deal with key development challenges. These could include investments in electricity distribution, water treatment, and sanitation as well as education and health-related hardware and software. Our national development finance institution Finnfund, which invests in the private sector in developing countries, will this year have additional funding amounting to EUR130 million. We also continue to strengthen our innovation partnership program BEAM and our business partnership program Finnpartnership. The aim of these initiatives is to help private business in developing countries with the capital, technology, and networks that they need in order to be successful and add jobs, wealth, and tax revenue, to name some of the key development effects.

Magufuli’s vision to industrialize the country as well as his war on corruption will help Tanzania become a more business-friendly economy. How can the Finnish private sector cooperate with the Government of Tanzania to boost local economic development?

Finland has a lot of expertize in forestry, energy, mining, geospatial technology, clean technology, and innovation. We are keen to strengthen our commercial partnerships with Tanzania. The know-how of the Finnish private sector will be an important asset for strengthening links between Tanzania and the global economy. Finnish programs can facilitate the Tanzanian private sector’s access to global value chains, markets, capital, and technology. Finnish-Tanzanian business partnerships can support Tanzania’s development for instance through better and/or cheaper products, improved efficiency, technology transfer, investment, and exports. Finland supports private sector development and engagement in developing countries. All stakeholders, being beneficiaries of Finnish funding, shall operate in a responsible and sustainable manner in accordance with the universal principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

What are the major short-term goals regarding Tanzania-Finnish bilateral relations as of year-end 2017?

While strengthening the commercial ties between our countries, we continue to pursue the objectives of our development cooperation programs. We aim for instance at supporting the improved performance of the public sector, focusing on better public financial management (PFM) systems, which are crucial for macro-economic stability and effective use of resources for poverty reduction and sustainable development. Sustainable economic growth, social welfare, and environmental protection are among the issues that Tanzanian leaders must address now and in the future. To support sound leadership, Finland will continue to partner with the UONGOZI Institute which builds competencies of current and emerging leaders in Africa on leadership, executive management, policy development, and strategic thinking. Regarding the private sector, access to finance is one of the key bottlenecks for innovative growth-oriented companies in Tanzania. In order to ease the situation, Tanzania is developing a national system for funding innovation through the National Fund for Science and Technology (NFAST) based at the National Commission for Science and Technology (Costech). Finland is currently initiating a second phase of a program that intends to support this effort through technical assistance and financial contributions. In the forestry sector, Finland will support the private sector and local communities to manage and utilize sustainable forests and to establish forest plantations. At the moment, only about 15% of the land has official title deeds or land-use plans and open access to forests results in depletion of land and deforestation. Therefore, the bilateral programs will also support land-use planning and strengthen the forest administration and forest NGOs. This will also contribute to the fight against the illegal timber trade.

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