Finland’s shifting role in Vietnam: “Cooperation programs” are key

Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kimmo Lahdevirta highlighted the country’s shift from development aid to cooperation, saying, “Finland is making a shift from traditional development programs to cooperation programs which suit Vietnam’s actual condition at this time. The Innovation Promotion Program (IPP) is an important and key element in this orientation.”

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Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kimmo Lahdevirta (Photo: Talkvietnam.com)

Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in the development process of a nation. This explains why Finland has concentrated on developing the private sector. Competition in the world market is becoming fiercer in Europe and Asia. Therefore, via the IPP, Finland wants to assist and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to develop and bring to the market new solutions through cooperation with research and development (R&D) organizations.

“We currently work with 30 different groups of companies in a wide range of fields from software to construction materials and many other sectors. These companies present solar energy solutions for fishing boats and products such as naturally-dyed clothing, refractory bricks, Nano technology-based waste water treatment system and environmentally friendly paints,” said Ambassador Kimmo Lahdevirta.

Most projects were designed and are being developed based on the cooperation between Vietnamese companies and Finnish research departments and business support agencies. Notably, all the cooperation projects were initiated by businesses – this is very important as their financial contributions account for 80 percent of total investment. IPP provides technological assistance but not equipment or construction expenses. Projects worth US$50,000-400,000 will be assisted.

Finland is famous in terms of innovation and has been one of the most competitive economies in the world for more than the past decade. This success is attributed mostly to investment in education and conceptual development. Finland wishes to share its experiences and help Vietnam promote economic development.

One of the important results Vietnam has achieved in implementing the IPP in the recent period was its access to the concepts and activities relating to innovation and assistance for Vietnamese businesses in the field of capability development. Through the IPP, Vietnamese universities, research institutes and businesses have learnt much about Finland’s innovation experiences. The IPP has changed the Vietnamese business community’s awareness about the role of technology and innovation in their development.

The next stage in the implementation of the IPP will begin this year and last five years. It will provide Vietnamese businesses with good opportunities to develop different ideas. Ambassador Kimmo Lahdevirta hopes that Vietnamese businesses can learn new management systems and absorb the knowledge provided by foreign groups. Finnish groups can develop more rapidly in the dynamic Southeast Asian market. This will be a turning-point that benefits both sides.

Source: Vietnam Economic News

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