The Interreg Central Baltic SME Aisle project held a webinar on business between Namibia and the Central Baltic area on 26 May 2021. The webinar brought together various company representatives from Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Namibia. In addition, various institutional and governmental actors joined the event to catch up on the current business activities in the countries and to hear the latest greetings from the project.
The webinar was opened by the SME Aisle project manager Dr. Minna Keinänen-Toivola, who went through the past success cases and current activities of the project. After the greetings from the project’s side, the webinar welcomed honorable guests of the embassies: recently accredited Ambassador of Namibia in Finland, Estonia and Latvia H.E. Charles B. Josob (Embassy of Namibia in Finland) and Ambassador of Namibia in Sweden H.E. Mr. George Mbanga Liswaniso (Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in Sweden). Both ambassadors shared their greetings and were genuinely delighted for the opportunity to network with new actors.
Next, Captain Heikki Koivisto (SAMK) gave insights on the maritime sector situation in Namibia. Although tourism, port operations and the fishing industry have suffered from the current situation, for example SAMK’s cooperation with the local actors in the field of maritime training proceeds well. Managing Director Andre Snyman from the company Walvis Bay Salt Holdings presented Namibia’s business situation in general as well as company’s business in year 2020. The year 2020 ended up being a very good year for the company and it managed to gain new market share in Africa. The company also started to break into Brazilian bulk salt market.
Current business landscapes in Latvia, Estonia and Finland were also introduced by the SME Aisle project partners. A similar message was heard in all presentations: although Covid-19 has affected local industries, the situation is stabilizing in many countries and various SME Aisle companies are ready to take part in business delegations when possible again.
In the final part of the webinar, two Finnish companies shared their successful business cases in Namibia. Company Image Soft Ltd delivers maritime simulators and N-tech Ltd concentrates on technical spare parts and consultancy. The company director Pekka Santanen said in his presentation that the pandemic had even helped their company gain more time to develop their technical solutions to better meet the target market’s needs. According to the company representative Jarno Laine from N-Tech, the company has started to successfully co-operate with Namibian service providers during the SME Aisle project and has conducted consultancy work via email and online calls.
In her final words of the webinar, Keinänen-Toivola introduced the next steps of the project and recalled the essence of the project’s goals.
– Our job is to help the companies flourish, Keinänen-Toivola concluded.
As for many other projects, Covid-19 has had an impact on the project activities. Nevertheless, the webinar offered a platform for good conversations and inspiring atmosphere. The cooperation continues, great contacts are restored, maintained and success stories shared until Spring 2022 and even beyond.
Text: Nina Savela
Pictures: Teija Järvenpää