Blog post by Kimmo Aura & Christina Rinne: The Road to Africa starts from Cape Town

Trade missions open the doors for Finnish connectivity companies in the promising market of South Africa, write Kimmo Aura and Christina Rinne, who work for Business Finland’s Connectivity from Finland growth program.


If you had asked back in the ‘80s, where the future of global growth will stem from, China would have been the most common answer. As history tells us now, it would have also been the right answer.

Our educated guess is that nowadays the great next promise awaits in Africa. In this equation, South Africa has gained a solid reputation as the major economic gateway to the wide continent.

Quite often, the road to Africa starts from Cape Town.

It is not a coincidence; after all, South Africa is both the largest and most advanced economy of the continent with all the benefits of a developed country. It is also among the most potential markets for Finnish connectivity companies.

The reason is simple.

We have spent lots of time in international telco business, recognizing how the economic growth of a country is, over the long haul, highly dependent on investment. When an economy grows, investments in infrastructure should follow.

However, it does not only apply to roads, rails and bridges. A key ingredient behind the growth of any modern society lies in its connectivity infrastructure.

That is why South Africa opens up such a thrilling opportunity for Finnish connectivity expertize. The local infrastructure is developing intensely, which also intensifies the competition, to say the least.

For small and medium-sized Finnish companies, joining forces is a handy option in an ultra-competitive market for at least two reasons. Firstly, it is easier for us to open doors for companies than it is for a single company to knock on them on their own. Secondly, a joint offering is commonly more attractive in the eyes of a potential buyer than a bunch of separate offerings that fit detailed niches.

Consequently, since May 2016, we have already arranged three separate trade missions to Johannesburg and an exhibition visit to Cape Town for our growth program companies. As we write this, we have just accomplished the latest mission and come back to Finland.

Along the way, something has changed.

When we took off to South Africa for the first time, each participant boarded the plane with a Finnish representative. Now, on our most recent visit, they all had local partners joining us.

Consistent and tenacious work is bearing fruit. This is how it should go with trade missions. We help the companies to get started in a new market; but for the participants, getting started is of course just the beginning of a wider endeavor across the continent.

About the authors

Kimmo Aura is a Program Director at Business Finland’s Connectivity from Finland growth program.

Christina Rinne is a Program Manager at Business Finland’s Connectivity from Finland growth program.

Connectivity from Finland brings together Finnish telecommunications companies to accelerate the sales of their innovative solutions and digital services to international operators. The program’s main target markets are Mexico, Chile, Argentina, USA, Kenya and South Africa.

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