Ambassador Pulkkinen wants to boost bilateral trade and economic relations, especially in ICT and innovation This year, the independence day of the Republic of Finland was celebrated in a special way, as the Ambassador of the Republic of Finland, Dr Jyrki Pulkkinen, on 6 December 2018\u00a0presented his Letter of Credentials to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari. Dr Pulkkinen is the 18th\u00a0Ambassador of Finland serving in Nigeria. Finland is among the most long-standing partners of Nigeria, having established an Embassy in Lagos already in 1963. President Buhari congratulated Finland on its 101st\u00a0independence anniversary taking place the same day. Ambassador Pulkkinen\u00a0explained to\u00a0President Buhari that\u00a0deepening of trade relations between the two countries is the utmost priority of the embassy. Although Nigeria is the largest economy on the continent and the most populous one, and even though already many Finnish companies are active in the country, Nigeria and its potential remain relatively unknown in Finland. In his discussion with Buhari, Pulkkinen\u00a0affirmed the\u00a0willingness to support the diversification of the Nigerian economy and the renewal of our trade relations, especially through science, technology and innovation systems. Finnish businesses in ICT and innovation have particularly a lot to contribute to the Nigerian society. Other areas of existing and potential future cooperation between\u00a0the countries\u00a0were highlighted, including education, electricity, smart technology, clean-tech, and health and well-being. The significance of Africa on the global agenda of Finland and EU is growing. Ambassador Pulkkinen underlined the importance of establishing strong partnerships with the Africans in the\u00a0struggle against climate change, population growth and extreme poverty, among other global challenges. Nigeria, on the other hand, is a superpower in Africa\u00a0holding an important role as a regional actor for peace and stability. Therefore, in the future, Nigeria could become a strategic key partner in Africa for Finland. Both Finland and Nigeria work actively in the field of peacekeeping and peace mediation. The conversation partners acknowledged mutual efforts for peace and stability in the region and in the whole of Africa. As an example, Pulkkinen pointed out the crucial role of the Finnish organization CMI (Crisis Management Initiative) in regional peace mediation and conflict prevention in West Africa through its institutional partnership with ECOWAS. \u00a0President Buhari, on the other hand, assured that all would be done in order to have free and fair elections in Nigeria in February 2019. After presenting his credentials, Mr Pulkkinen introduced to President Buhari his spouse Mrs Ritva Pulkkinen, as well as Deputy Head of Mission Mr Otto Stenius, and Second Secretary Ms Suvi Laakso. Ambassador Pulkkinen moved to Abuja from the Ministry's Development Evaluation Unit, where he was Director of Unit since 2013. In 2004\u20132008 and in 2011\u20132013, he served as Senior Adviser for information society, development and innovation policy at the Ministry's Department for Development Policy. Pulkkinen has also served in several international organizations, among others as the Chair of Board of Governors of IPDC program under UNESCO in 2012-2013 and as the CEO of the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), an international non-profit organisation founded by a UN task force in 2008\u20132011, in Ireland and Kenya. Before his career in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he held various research and education positions at the Before his career in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he held various research and education positions at the University of Oulu. He holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education.