The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland believes that development policy is an important part of Finland’s coherent foreign policy and security policy.The basis for Finland’s human rights based development policy is the set of Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations, which aim at eliminating extreme poverty. In addition to reducing poverty and inequality, Finland supports the long-term goal of freeing developing countries from their dependency on aid, through strengthening their own resources. Finland believes that support should be given to strengthening the ability of those living in extreme poverty to work in order to improve their lives.
Finland’s Development Policy (2016) has four priority areas: 1. The rights of women and girls, 2. Reinforcing developing countries’ economies to generate more jobs, livelihoods and well-being 3., Democratic and well-functioning societies, including taxation capacity, and 4. Food security, access to water and energy, and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Private sector development (PSD) policy and strategy
The Ministry states that both private sector development and private sector cooperation are crucial to Finnish efforts of poverty eradication. Private sector development in developing countries helps create decent jobs and opportunities of entrepreneurship for the people, help them earn their living and bring, over time, resources to the state for the funding of public services. Private sector cooperation is important because the private sector can offer expertise, technology, goods and services, business models and resources for poverty eradication and sustainable development. The private sector has in recent years played an increasingly important role in development.
Partnership mechanisms for the private sector
The Ministry states that Finland strives to develop the possibilities for private enterprises, public actors and civil society to support sustainable development and participate in development cooperation. The Ministry wants to strengthen dialogue between the State and the private sector, as well as to develop forms of private sector development cooperation. An overview of support for various phases of business operations in developing countries is here; individual initiatives are linked below.
- Finnpartnership: Matchmaking between companies; Business Partnership Support (grants); Advisory Services; Information Services on Exporting to Finland
- Finnfund: Financial support (Equity financing; Investment loans; Mezzanine financing; Cofinancing; Guarantees in exceptional cases)
- Fund for Local Cooperation: Financial support (grants for host-country civil society actors, organisations and the private sector). More information is available on the websites of Finnish embassies in individual countries
- BEAM – Business with Impact. A joint innovations-for-development program between the MFA Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Financial support includes grants and risk loans.
- Public Sector Investment Facility (PIF). Support for public sector investments of developing countries, part of the procurement is tied to Finnish enterprises. Support goes to the developing country’s investment loan (grant) and its interest (interest rate subsidy).