June, 13, 2018
Five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on education, digitization, health and energy were signed on 12th June 2018 between the Sri Lankan Government and the Finish government along with private sectors of the two countries. The MoUs were signed on the sidelines of a visit by Finnish Economic Affairs and Development Deputy Minister Petri Peltonen and a Finnish business delegation made up of 17 prominent companies seeking collaboration and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the visiting Finland Economic Affairs and Employment Deputy Minister Petri Peltonen exchanged the respective MoUs with Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary Wasantha Deshapriya, Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Deputy Minister Faizal Cassim and Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi.
The visit marks the second delegation from Finland to Sri Lanka in the last six months and was encouraged by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to Finland last year.
The objective is to increase engagement in specific sectors where Finnish companies have become global leaders and use the synergy to foster development in Sri Lanka. Finnish Ambassador to Sri Lanka Harri Kamarainen highlighted the deep historical connections between the two countries and touched on the trade ties that existed hundreds of years ago. He said that he is confident that the two countries could forge new partnerships in the coming years. Deputy Minister Petri Peltonen signed three MoUs with the Sri Lankan Government focused on vocational education and cooperation in the areas of digitization and health. Two other private sector MoUs on education and bio fertilizer were also signed at the event. The Ambassador noted that two more MoUs on IT with the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and a second by LTL Holdings to build a 100MW flexible thermal power plant in Bangladesh would also be signed.
According to him Finland is the number one country in Europe when it comes to bio-based renewable energy sources, and 40% of our total energy consumption is from renewable and the aim is to increase this to 50%. With regards to digitization, the Deputy Minister spoke of the well-known Nokia but also pointed out that several other global companies were also spearheading ventures in this area in other parts of the world.
Deputy Minister Petri Peltonen further highlighted that they understand that these MoUs are not the end result but rather the instruments for improving cooperation and building on the commitment and tangible results in those areas that have been focused on by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.
- Reporting by Devendra Francis