By Kathy Gibson in Stockholm, Sweden – As Africa emerges as one of the world’s few growing economies, Sweden is moving to increase its trade on the continent – with a focus on ensuring that benefit flows both ways.
State secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Oom yesterday explained to a delegation of African media that, in Sweden’s view, trade and investment in Africa should be about building sustainable activity to create growth and prosperity.
Already, about 30% of the trade between Sweden and Africa results from African imports.
Oom points out that African centres are seeing sustainable growth and the African market has become a critical one that Sweden has decided to focus on. In addition, the country is working on the lifting of trade barriers so that emerging markets can feel the full benefit of global trading.
With a population of just 9-million, the relatively small Sweden relies on the export market to survive, and this seems to make the country sensitive to the needs and aspirations of its trading partners.
Oom stresses that Swedish companies are urged to understand the markets they operate in, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports them and helps them to partner with local organisations.
Swedish interests are currently holding a series of workshops and seminars across Africa to promote Swedish trade in general and its contributions to the ICT sector specifically.
A joint initiative of Business Sweden, Ericsson and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this year launched a two-year ICT venture aimed at increasing collaboration and trade between Sweden and key African countries.