Finn Church Aid’s work continues in Kenya and Myanmar, which are the targets of development cooperation cuts

Ville Tavio, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, recently presented cuts to Finland’s development cooperation.

VERY SIGNIFICANT CUTS are planned for development cooperation, according to Finland’s new minister for development cooperation. During the term of the government, which was inaugurated in June 2023, Finland will end the country programmes for Kenya, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Mozambique. After the cuts, in 2027 Finland will spend up to 280 million euros less than previously planned for actual development cooperation.

FCA continues its work in Kenya and Myanmar, partly with the support of Finland, but mainly with the support of other financiers.

“At FCA we are saddened to see that Finland is cutting support from precisely those countries where the need for development cooperation and aid is great. The countries in question are either very fragile themselves or, like Kenya, bear the burden of refugees from other countries,” says FCA’s Deputy Executive Director, Ikali Karvinen.

“We are committed to continuing our work in Myanmar and Kenya, where we work in many different ways to promote education, livelihood and stability.”

FCA’s work in Kenya and Myanmar focuses on strengthening quality education, livelihoods and peace, as well as humanitarian aid. While Kenya’s economic development in the region has been positive, the country is a significant recipient of refugees. FCA supports access to primary education in Turkana, Garissa and Marsabit, Kenya’s poorest counties, which host a large number of refguees.

Development cooperation is effective and is still needed

Tapio Laakso, head of Advocacy at FCA, says that the cuts demonstrated how Finland’s presence in the world is weakening.

“Development cooperation is part of Finland’s foreign and security policy. With the cuts, Finland’s presence and opportunities for influence in the world will decrease,” he says.

Mr Karvinen adds how even distant problems ultimately affect the stability of Finland and the safety of its citizens.

“We have seen that international solidarity is in danger at this time. In a networked world, we will encounter even distant problems at our doorstep eventually, if we do not react to them where they first appear. Climate change, refugees and difficult development issues are issues that affect all of us.”

“Of course, it is positive that civil society is still seen as an important actor in these countries.”

At the beginning of 2024, there will be 300 million people in the world relying on humanitarian aid. Before the beginning of this decade, the number was decreasing, but the situation has been dramatically worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and events such as the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.

Mr Laakso states that a humanitarian crisis is an extreme situation that can be prevented precisely through development cooperation.

“It is often said that nothing can be accomplished with development cooperation, but that is not true. Compared to the beginning of the 1990s, global extreme poverty has decreased, more and more children – and especially girls – go to school and, looking at the big picture, the world is doing much better. It is worrisome how many of the long-term development indicators mentioned above have declined while conflicts are also increasing,” he says.

More information and contacts:

FCA Deputy Executive Director, Ikali Karvinen
+358 40 509 8050

FCA Head of Advocacy Tapio Laakso
+358 50 536 3280