A full house of different Kenyan corporate representatives was gathered to Hilton hotel in mid-November to hear about the possibilities Finnish companies can offer to their businesses. The seminar with title "Doing Business with Finland" was jointly organized by the Embassy of Finland, Finnpartnership, Finpro East Africa and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
ICT, cleantech, agriculture and infrastructure are among the fields where there's a demand for Finnish expertise. Especially bioenergy, windpower and energy efficient construction are the sectors where Finnish expertise can be useful to developing and rising economies.
Finnish companies are mostly interested in finding long-term partnerships, for example subcontractors, raw material producers and long-term customers. A high value is put on companies that aim to have significant positive impacts on environment.
Ambassador Tarja Fernández opened the seminar giving an example of Finland's high coffee consumption per capita – Finnish market is also very open to food products from Africa. According to Ms Birgit Nevala from business matchmaking instrument Finnpartnership food products such as coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables are on high demand.
Finland acts as a good example to Kenya as a formerly colonized country which has become one of the most competitive economies in only a few decades. According to Mr Kent Libiso from Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Finland is one of the best business partners in the world, due to its low level of corruption and fair business culture. Mr Libiso says that Finns can be sometimes even brutally honest, which might be difficult to a foreign partner in the beginning, but makes negotiations and decision-making easier. Mr Libiso himself has lived in Finland for several years.
The high number of participants over exceeded the expectations, and signaled that more such events are needed.