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Speaker of the Finnish Parliament on official visit to Namibia

Speaker of the Finnish Parliament on official visit to Namibia

Maria Lohela, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament came to Namibia on an official visit and will be hosted by her Namibian counterpart, Prof. Peter Katjavivi.

She will be accompanied by Finland’s members of parliament, Prof. Pekka Puska and Mr. Olli-Poika Parviainen for the visit that will commence on Wednesday, 24 January to Friday, 26 January.

The official visit is reciprocal as Katjavivi, accompanied by members of parliament, Elma Dienda and Heather Sibungo were on a similar visit to the Finnish Parliament during the 10 to 13 October 2017.

Lohela was elected in 2015 to preside over a unicameral parliament comprising of 200 members of parliament; at a relatively young age of 37 years. Namibia and Finland enjoy a long standing and mutually-beneficial relationship dating as far back as before Namibia’s independence.

Thus, this visit apart from continuing the talks on parliamentary cooperation between the Parliament of Namibia and the Parliament of Finland, is also meant to build on the existing relationship and to hold consultations with various government stakeholders such as the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Ministry of Poverty Eradication, Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and the Ministry of Higher Education on pertinent issues.

Finland has made great strides in ensuring gender equality, hence it is worth noting that nineteen women were elected to the Finnish Parliament as way back in 1907 and these were the first women MPs in the world.

Finland became one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote, and still today they are among the top countries for women equality. Finland was voted second in the Global Gender Gap Index in women’s rights and currently is ranked number 7 on the World Classification and has 84 women in Parliament. Once again, we congratulate the people of Finland on their Independence Centenary 2017 when they commemorated 100 years since they attained their independence.

Given Finland’s good track record in tackling the scourge of gender based violence, this visit will further encompass a joint effort to address gender related challenges that Namibia has been grappling with.

Among other issues to be discussed, the Finnish Speaker and her delegation will join Katjavivi, to craft a joint way forward on how to combat Gender Based Violence in Namibia and how to transform Namibia’s Parliament into a (paperless) e-parliament.

Furthermore, Lohela and the Finish Embassy in Windhoek will host a Women Leaders’ Luncheon.

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys