General information on development cooperation

Finland’s development policy has been outlined in the Government Report on Development Policy, published in February 2016. The report takes account of the current situation in developing countries, the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the binding climate convention, the present refugee situation, and the resources available in Finland.

Development policy is an integral part of Finland’s foreign and security policy. By pursuing the policy of burden-sharing, Finland also strengthens its international role. The goal of Finnish development policy is to reduce poverty and inequality.

Our action draws upon the inherent values and underlying principles of Nordic societies, the implementation of human rights being a key objective. Finnish development policy strives to strengthen the rights of the most vulnerable, promote gender equality, and improve climate change preparedness and mitigation.

Finland works coherently to promote development-enhancing choices. It will strive to influence policies within the EU and multilateral organizations as well as in developing countries more strategically and more actively. The EU provides an important channel for Finland to wield its influence in international climate, environmental and economic issues so as to ensure that the decisions adopted will improve conditions in poor countries.

It is crucial to consolidate the economic base in developing countries to enable them to advance in their development. Jobs, new livelihoods, and strengthening national tax bases all play a key role. Finland will step up funding to support sustainable development and employment and strengthen developing countries’ taxation capacity and public finances.

Finland’s development policy has four priorities:

  1. The rights of women and girls

  2. Reinforcing developing countries’ economies to generate more jobs, livelihoods, and well-being

  3. Democratic and well-functioning societies, including taxation capacity

  4. Food security, access to water and energy, and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Aid for Trade Strategy

As of 2016 Finland’s Aid for Trade strategy is integrated into the overall development policy, particularly under priority 2 “Reinforcing developing countries’ economies to generate more jobs, livelihoods and well-being”

This priority supports, in particular, the UN sustainable development goals 8, 9 and 12: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Why is it important? Without a solid economic base, poverty and inequality cannot be eliminated, societies won’t have the income to cover their spending, and they won’t develop to be eventually able to support themselves. One of the main challenges is unemployment, especially young people without jobs. Decent jobs and livelihood opportunities are the cornerstones of human well-being and well-functioning societies. A socially responsible private sector plays a key role, as do private financial flows that support sustainable development. To facilitate the operation of businesses and entrepreneurs and to encourage investments, it is important that developing countries’ administrative systems function predictably, play by the rules and respect human rights. In many developing countries, the economic base is weak or almost inexistent, making the foundation for development difficult. Finland possesses know-how as a promoter of resource-wise and accountable business.

How is this promoted? Finland will support the developing countries’ efforts to build and strengthen their economic foundations, improve their business environments, and manage and use their natural resources responsibly. Finland will support local authorities and companies as well as public authorities, companies or organizations working with them, to improve their know-how and operations, boost investments and partnerships and enhance the use of technologies and innovations. As a member of the EU, Finland will influence international trade negotiations, promoting the market access of products essential for progress in developing countries. Finland will also influence in the shaping of new rules on international corporate taxation and corporate social responsibility as well as the guidelines of financial institutions and other relevant actors. Finland will fund collaboration among research and educational institutions, companies, civil society and the public sector to ensure that the necessary know-how is strengthened and transmitted to developing countries.

What are our goals? Finland’s actions strive to promote that:

  • everyone, including women, young people and the poorest, have better access to decent work, livelihoods, and income;

  • the private sector and economic activity in developing countries are more dynamic and more diversified;

  • international business rules lend better support to the development of businesses, their accountability and the observance of internationally agreed standards in developing countries;

  • better use is made of new know-how, value chains, technologies and innovations that respect sustainable development.


Principal official agency responsible for TCB assistance to developing countries

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA)
Contact details

Tel:+358 91 6005/57815

Europe Information: 010 345 6700

Fax: +358 962 9840 or 1 605 5799

E-mail:kirjaamo.um [at] formin.fi

Physical Address
P. O. Box 176
FI-00023 Government, Finland

The MFA promotes the security and welfare of Finland and the Finns and works for a secure and fair world. It concentrates on foreign and security policy, trade policy and development policy as well as on significant foreign policy issues and international relations in general. The Ministry also assists other branches of government in the coordination of international affairs.

Within the MFA, overall responsibility for the formulation of Finland’s international development policy and development cooperation policy falls under the Department for Development Policy, while responsibility for advancing policy coherence between trade policy and development policy is within the Department for Development Policy and the Department for External Economic Relations. Development cooperation issues related to bilateral relations and regional initiatives come under the responsibility of regional departments: the Departments for Europe; for Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia; for the Americas and Asia; and for Africa and the Middle East. The Department for Development Policy administers development assistance through multilateral organizations, except for certain specialized agencies focusing on trade and development matters, whose aid is administered by the Department for External Economic Relations.

Other government and official agencies with responsibilities directly relevant to TCB

Centre for Metrology and Accreditation (MIKES)
Contact details

Contact information: http://www.mikes.fi/en/contact-information


The Centre for Metrology and Accreditation supports the competitiveness of Finnish trade and industry, and promotes the quality and reliability of national testing and inspection services. It provides internationally recognized accreditation and calibration services. FINAS: A national accreditation body, FINAS is an operationally and economically independent department within the organization of the Centre for Metrology and Accreditation (MIKES).

Finnfund (Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd.)
Contact details

Tel:+358 9 348 434

Fax: +358 9 3484 3346

E-mail:firstname.lastname [at] finnfund.fi (Finnfund)
E-mail: fp [at] finnpartnership.fi (Finnpartnership)


Physical Address
P. O. Box 391
FI-00121 Helsinki
Uudenmaankatu 16 B
4th floor FI-00120 Helsinki

Finnfund is a Finnish development finance institute that offers long-term risk capital to profitable projects in ODA-eligible developing countries and countries in transition outside the EU, including Russia. It funds commercially viable private sector projects. Finnfund’s projects have an important development objective, specifically to increase the production capacity of developing countries.

Contact details

Tel. +358 29 460 11

Puhelinpalvelu [at] finnvera.fi

maksuohjelmat [at] finnvera.fi

Physical Address
P.O. Box 1010 Porkkalankatu 1
00101 Helsinki

Finnvera a specialized financing company owned by the State of Finland is an official Export Credit Agency (ECA) that provides its clients with loans, guarantees, venture capital investments and export credit guarantees. The State of Finland is responsible for all the guarantees it issues, and its operations are steered by the industrial and ownership policy goals laid down by the State. Among these are: (i) increasing the number of starting enterprises; (ii) enabling financing for changes encountered by SMEs; and (iii) promoting enterprise growth, internationalization, and exports. In its operations, Finnvera is expected to adhere to the principle of economic self-sustainability.

Contact details

Tel: +358 294 6951
Fax: +358 294 695 200

Physical Address
Helsinki, P.O. Box 358, 00181 Helsinki
Visiting address: Porkkalankatu 1, 00180 Helsinki

Finpro helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes travel to Finland. Finpro is a public organization consisting of Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro’s almost 300 professionals work in 36 Trade Centers in 31 countries and 6 offices in Finland.

Contact details

Tel: +358 400 821 673

Tel: +358 50 4623317

E-mail info [at] fintra.fi

Physical Address
Eteläinen Makasiinikatu 4, FI-00130 Helsinki
Karlavägen 108, SE-115 26 Stockholm

Is specialized in providing training services to Finnish companies that are either starting global business or are already active in this field. Since 1919 Fintra has helped thousands of companies to grow in the international market.

Team Finland
Contact details

Tel: +358 295 020 510

Contact form: https://www.tekes.fi/en/team-finland-contact/


The Team Finland network promotes Finland and boosts the success of Finnish companies abroad. The Team Finland network brings together all state-funded actors and the services they offer to support the internationalization of Finnish companies, to attract foreign investments to Finland, and to promote Finland’s country brand.

Team Finland offers information, tools, and networks to support the international success of Finnish companies. The network-based approach intensifies the use of public resources promoting export and attracting investments to Finland and enhances the quality of services offered to companies.

Tekes/MFA: Business with Impact (BEAM) programme
Contact details

Tel: +358 2950 55000
E-mail: kirjaamo [at] tekes.fi

Physical Address
P.O.Box 69
FI-00101 Helsinki
Porkkalankatu 1, Helsinki

The Tekes (the Finnish funding agency for innovation) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' joint programme BEAM – Business with Impact, aims to generate new, sustainable business in developing countries. BEAM assists Finnish enterprises and other actors in using innovations to address global development challenges, by converting such innovations into successful and sustainable business in both Finland and developing countries.

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Physical Address
P. O. Box 32
FI-00023 Government

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy bears the overall responsibility for the business environment and industrial policy of Finland, as well as the promotion of exports and the internationalization of enterprises as part of the policy. The Ministry’s export promotion policy aims to ensure that Finnish enterprises have at least equal internationalization conditions and operating possibilities in the market compared to the companies of competitor countries. Public export promotion services are primarily provided for small and medium enterprises. The Ministry strives, with public services and subsidies, to encourage enterprises operating in the home market to internationalize their business, as well as to accelerate the internationalization process of enterprises that have already started exporting. The MEE also has the overall responsibility for advancing the corporate social responsibility of Finnish firms.

The National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR)
Contact details

Tel: +358 29 509 5000

E-mail: firstname.lastname [at] prh.fi

Physical Address
Arkadiankatu 6 A, Helsinki

The NBPR advances technological and economic progress, both in Finland and internationally. It participates actively in international activities in its field and closely monitors how they develop. The NBPR has a wide network of international contacts, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other institutions. Finland has acceded to several intellectual property treaties and organizations relating to the NBPR.

Other offical and NON-governmental organizations involved

Finnish Standards Association (SFS)
Contact details

Tel. +358 9 149 9331

Fax +358 9 146 4925

E-mail: sfs [at] sfs.fi

Physical Address
P.O. Box 130
FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland

SFS is an independent, non-profit making association and a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). SFS co-ordinates standardization in Finland; produces and approves SFS standards; sells SFS and foreign standards; maintains databases of standards; provides general information on standards and standardization; and manages environmental labeling systems. It also manages the WTO information Centre in Finland.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

Support for UNCTAD’s Information Economy Report
Support to the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECPDM)
Support through EIF for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to LDCs
Support to UNIDO for the implementation of activities under the Trade Capacity-Building Programme
Support to International Trade Centre’s technical assistance
Support to WTO technical assistance
Support to OECD Policy Framework for Investment
Support to Advisory Centre for WTO Law (ACWL)
Bi-lateral support to partner countries
Support for Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF)
Support for UNIDO’s trade capacity-building programs
Support to Finnpartnership program
Support to projects in various countries funded from Local cooperation funds
Support to ITC’s programmes that support national trade promotion agencies
Support to ITC’s work related to market and trade information
Support to WCO’s program in customs modernization in East and Southern Africa
Support to ITC’s work on trade facilitation
Support to WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility
Support to TradeMark East Africa.
Support to UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce
Support to EBRD’s ETC Trust Fund in developing trade-related financial services
Support to International Trade Centre’s (ITC) program on Trade Finance
South-South cooperation is encouraged in regional programmes funded by Finland, for example Southern African Innovation Support (SAIS) programme that encourages south-south cooperation among SADC region countries; ITC Intra-regional Trade in Easter Africa
Support to trade and gender programmes of ITC and UNCTAD
Support to UNIDO’s gender strategy
Support to Women’s World Banking (WWB)
Involvement of the private sector in Aid for Trade