SENEGAL – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland is making preparations to expand and strengthen the network of Finnish missions abroad, with opening of a new embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
The embassy would start operations at some point later this year. In September 2020, Finland reopened its embassy in Manila, the Philippines. In addition to Dakar, Finland is currently preparing to open a mission in the capital of Qatar, Doha.
The operation of the Foreign Service relies on a comprehensive network of diplomatic and consular missions abroad. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs aims to allocate resources to countries whose political and economic weight for Finland is growing.
The Ministry has looked extensively into various options. The Government Programme, which mentions Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia as possible options, has served as a basis for this consideration. Both foreign policy needs and Finland’s commercial interests were taken into account in the consideration.
“The embassy now opening in Dakar is Finland’s first embassy in French-speaking West Africa and thus an important addition to our network of missions. Senegal is an important partner and a stabilising actor throughout the region for Finland and the European Union,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
The capital of Senegal, Dakar, is a diplomatic centre for West Africa and a natural choice for the location of the new embassy. In line with the policies of its Africa strategy adopted in March 2021, Finland aims to diversify and deepen its relations with African countries.
“The new embassy in Dakar will significantly improve Team Finland’s opportunities to support market access for Finnish companies in this region as there is ample potential to increase trade and cooperate more closely,” said Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.
In order to achieve this objective, Finland needs to increase its diplomatic and commercial presence on the continent. A Finnish mission in Dakar can cover several countries in that area, including the Sahel region, whose security development Europe is closely monitoring.
In the French-speaking West Africa, there are many countries experiencing strong economic growth and Senegal is one of the region’s economic and logistical centres.