Finnish expertise in security for the world's crisis areas
In the unstable region at the border of Congo and Zambia a large mine is being opened. Hence, the site is seeing the rapid rise of a large mining community. The rapid settlement of the area naturally brings a number of health and safety challenges: water and waste management, new buildings, public safety, and so on.
Finland would be able to offer a lot of products and solutions to improve the situation, but especially for SMEs the threshold may be too high. Export trade requires resources that many simply do not have.
To this end, Human Security Finland was established. It is a network which aims to help Finnish companies promote their products and services abroad, especially to the previously mentioned kinds of areas. According to the head of the network, Jyri Wuorisalo, Finland has a good reputation in the international security market which helps with the export efforts.
"Finland is known as a neutral and technologically developed country, with a long history of doing greater things than its size would indicate, such as carrying out valuable peacekeeping work. This has already affected our image positively," says Wuorisalo.
The problems lie in business know-how
"Finland's activities in international security have been for a long time left to the state and various NGOs. There is less experience in the business sector. This is a problem because we want to make the current projects more businesslike. On the business side Finland has even fallen slightly by the wayside. For our part, we will try to help the situation."
The greatest potential lies in mobile technology
The Human Security Finland network is led by Kuopio Innovation Oy, a development organisation in the Kuopio area, which is a natural location due to the proximity of the Crisis Management Centre of Finland. However, the network is completely open, which means that all interested companies, research and educational institutions are free to join. There is very concrete help available for instance in areas such as sales and marketing.
Finland's biggest trump card is technology, especially mobile industry know-how, which has evolved in the country under the leadership of Nokia. In many Third World countries, development has entirely disregarded fixed networks and jumped straight into the mobile era. In this field, Finland holds a strong position.
"Services built on mobile phones and networks are one of the most promising areas. For example, at the Zambia and Congo border the infrastructure is largely in quite modest shape, but 3G connectivity works amazingly well," Wuorisalo says.
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