Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will visit Benin on 3–5 June. The 11th Nordic–African Foreign Ministers Meeting will be held in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. This time the meeting will have three main themes: The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the infrastructure of Africa and energy challenges, as well as peace and security. Minister Hautala will to travel to the meeting from Tanzania, where she is currently visiting.
The aim of the forum, conceived by Sweden’s late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, has been to promote dialogue and cooperation between the Nordic countries and ten African countries, especially as concerns Africa and its development issues. The meeting is organised once a year, either in the Nordic countries or in Africa.
The added value contributed by the meeting has been the high-level, informal and open dialogue that is not tied to the stands of different grouping and that seeks new ideas and solutions to Africa’s problems and to cooperation between the countries.
The participating African countries, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Mali and Lesotho, were originally chosen on the basis of the evidence of their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and good governance. Many of these countries at some time had a female foreign minister.
Bilateral meetings with the delegations of Benin and Mozambique are planned to take place in conjunction with the meeting. Benin holds the chairmanship of the African Union in 2012. Mozambique, in turn, is a bilateral development cooperation partner.
Additional information: Counsellor Erik af Hällström, Department for Africa and the Middle East, mobile tel. +358 40 509 5107, Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to the Minister for International Development, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869