Nordic Week in Tanzania with Green Growth on the agenda

Reception - Photo:Christian Estmann
The four Nordic Ambassadors in Tanzania, from left: Pekka Hukka (Finland), Katarina Rangnitt (Sweden), Hanne-Marie Kaarstad (Norway) and Einar Jensen (Denmark). Photo: Christian Estmann

For the third consecutive year, the Nordic Week was arranged in Tanzania from 31st of May until 6th of June 2018. The aim of the week was to promote the Nordic countries and celebrate our over 50 years of close cooperation with Tanzania.

Four Nordic countries participated: Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. This year, the focus of the week was on Green Growth, and various events were arranged around this theme. The week started with a symposium on the environment and the national economy of Tanzania. A business forum on green growth and the business environment in Tanzania drew a large crowd from the Nordic and Tanzanian private sectors. The week’s highlight was a joint Nordic reception with the minister of environment, Mr. January Makamba, as the guest of honor.  Furthermore, cultural evenings of choir concerts, local music and dance performances, an art exhibition and a movie night celebrated both Nordic and Tanzanian culture.

Green growth towards status as middle-income country?

The Nordic week was kicked off with a symposium on climate change, environment and national economy in Tanzania, organized in collaboration with the Vice President’s office. The conference attracted broad participation, where both the Vice President, the Minister of State, Union Affairs and Environment and the Minister of Energy participated. The need to adapt to a changing climate and environmental degradation while safeguarding the environment and fostering economic growth was discussed through three different panel debates. Mr. Jon Heikki Aas, the counsellor for Environment and Climate Change at the Norwegian Embassy, participated in the panel discussing “The economic consequences of climate change for Tanzania”. He stated that “adaption now is much less expensive than dealing with the damage later. It might not be economically beneficial right now, but it will be in the long run”.

Is Green Growth compatible with business objectives?

To grow green was taken from a national level to a business level during the Nordic Week’s Business Forum with discussions on green growth, business opportunities and challenges in Tanzania. The forum gathered a range of Nordic business representatives and key stakeholders for the Tanzanian business environment, e.g. the Executive Director of Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), Raymond Mbilinyi, and the Executive Secretary of Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Godfrey Simbeye. The Nordic business representatives participating in the panel underlined the importance of focusing on growing the green way, despite challenges in the business environment. Head of Communication at Statoil Tanzania, Genevieve Kasanga, described how the upcoming name change to “Equinor” underlines the company’s commitment to become greener. As Ms. Kasanga highlighted – the transition will give competitive advantages and provide attractive business opportunities, it makes commercial sense to go green. Challenges in the investment climate were also discussed and several participants expressed hope for the planned reforms detailed in the Business Blueprint. The Nordic ambassadors attended the meeting.

Nordic tones under the Tanzanian stars

H.E. Ambassador for Norway, Ms. Hanne-Marie Kaarstad, invited several Ambassadors and representatives from local and international organizations to a Nordic concert in the garden of the Norwegian residence. The evening's performance was by the Danish choir "Nordlys". The Ambassador was hoping that the choir with its seductive tones would make the 50 guests dream about the lighter Nordic summer nights with a cool breeze and midnight sun. Judging by the comments of the guests afterwards, the ambassador’s wish was fulfilled.

Ambassador Kaarstad used the opportunity to thank her Nordic colleagues, who were all present for the good and close cooperation, while confirming that the Nordic countries want to nurture and retain close cooperation with Tanzania.  

Joint Nordic reception to celebrate the close ties between the Nordics and Tanzania.

A joint Nordic reception with the Minister of State, Union Affairs and Environment, Hon. January Makamba, as the guest of honor marked the end of a successful Nordic week. The Danish Ambassador, Einar Jensen, expressed in his opening remarks the importance of acting green “From the recent floods in East Africa to water shortage in Cape Town, climate change is a reality on the African continent at large”. Minister Makamba thanked the Nordic countries for the close collaboration and looked forward for its continuation in the years to come. Nordic businesses presented their green solutions during the reception, and there was broad attendance from the Tanzanian government, civil society, development partners and the Nordic community.