Mitt tal i Haikou

Publicerat: 5 december, 2014 i Politik

haikou_moteHär hittar du mitt tal som jag höll under mötet med Haikous Sister Citys. Det som var lite lustigt var att efter några minuter efter att jag började mitt anförande så började TV-monitorerna i mitten av bordet brinna och mötet fick ajourneras 20 minuter. Det medförde att det tal som de flesta kom att prata om efteråt var mitt.

Det jag sa var ungefär det här:

Mr Chairman,

First, please let me say how highly the people of the Åland Islands values the invitation from Mayor Ni Qiang to the first Sister City Summit in Haikou.  My name is Fredrik Karlström and I am the Minister of Trade and Industry in the Government of the Åland Islands. I want to begin by personally thanking mayor Ni Qiang, the people of Haikou and all the people of Hainan for being extraordinary hosts. The whole arrangement has been absolutley terrific.

This is my second visit to Hainan but my first to Haikou and as always the people of Hainan have been very friendly and made us feel extra welcomed. We appreciate everything you have done for our delegation during our stay.

The Åland Islands, is a autonomous, self-governed and de-militarized region of Finland. The Åland Islands are situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland and consist of 6700 islands. We call our home the Islands of Peace.

I can talk for hours about my fantastic island; our history, our nature, our way of living and our local businesses, dealing with everything from shipping, high-tech IT-solutions and world leading medical equipment to our farmers who produce internationally awarded products.

But instead of only describing the Åland Islands in words I would like to show you a film at the same time as I talk about this summit’s theme ”Consolidating  Friendship For Common Growth”.

You will find all the official videos, pictures as well as more information about the Åland Islands on our official homepage And please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of our delegation during this summit if you want to know more

I have divided this speech into three short sections, three areas that are very crucial for ”Consolidating Friendship For Common Growth”. Three words that I believe we all highly value and have in common. Also, areas where we all can improve and increase in our efforts to collaborate. Three words that contributes to growth; Education, Trade and Tourism.

One of the most important key factors for growth is education. Every Dollar, Euro or Yuan spent on education will contribute to continuous sustainable growth for our Regions, Nations and future generations. Education is an investment in increased welfare and an investment for the future. I know that there are a fantastic University in all the citys represented here today and especially in Haikou.

On the Åland Islands we have a University of Applied Science that are very well know and recognized in Northern Europe. Our University is a leading provider of high quality education in the field of electro-technical engineering, especially for the shipping industry.The government of Åland and the Åland University of Applied Science have decided to expand their popular program and open a new study programme in English, leading to a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering.

And I am very honored to announce today that the University will accept applications from Haikou students who wishes to apply. The programme is free of charge for those accepted, just like all education is in Åland. The University will also help the students from Haikou with all the practical details. This is one way for us to contribute to our joint efforts of ”Consolidating  Friendship For Common Growth”.

The second topic I would like to adress is Trade and Business.
Expanding global trade will directly benefit countries and people around the world. Trade is a key driver of growth, perhaps the key driver. Growth is necessary and essential but it has do be done sustainable and with hope and optimism.

I believe that more global trade would mean more growth and prosperity for all of us. We need more international cooperation, stronger connections between our nations and regions and I believe that for more growth to appear, more jobs must be created throughout our regions.

The path to achieving this is to make it easier for people to start and run companies wherever they live, be it in Haikou or on the Åland Islands. Resent studies from Europe shows that, 4 out of 5 new jobs are created in small and medium size companies. These companies are therefore the engine that enables us to create additional jobs.

I believe we all want our countries full of entrepreneurs, full of people who turn their ideas into reality, people who have dreams of making their lives, their community and their country better. When obstacles are eliminated for small enterprises to start, expand and grow, the entire country grows.

Business is not created between companies, business is created between and by people. So it is all about the people in our regions to meet. When people meet, ideas are exchanged and spread. When that happens, new products, services and innovations emerge. That’s what it’s all about. People meeting people.

We are living in a fast changing time and I believe that we are just in the beginning of a new era. Unmanned flying drones that scan fields used by farmers, robot-nurses caring for our elderly, robots that milk cows and advanced simulators that can teach students to operate advanced machines or operate inside the human body are no longer dreams, visions or science fiction. They all exist. The future is here now.

Kids growing up today belong to a generation that is thinking and acting in both the digital and the real world. They are playing with mobil phones and tablets before they can speak. I am convinced, that the future will change even faster in the coming years, faster than we can even imagine. Therefore, the ability to change, or ”learn to learn”, will be the most important factor to adopt to these changes.

I also believe we will see a lot more inventions and ”game changers” the coming years than we have seen before. And I also believe that the ”game changers” will not come from the big companies, or from politicians like me. It will come from small startups, entrepreneurs and creative people that think and act different then the rest of us.

If someone a few years ago would have said that the flagship of Finland, the world leader in mobile phones, Nokia, would cease to exist, no one would have believed that person.

Who could believe that another small company in Finland in just a few years could conquer the world with a game filled with ”Angry Birds”. The world is full of examples of big companies that have failed because they didn’t adapt. Another example is Kodak. They invented the digital camera but because they didn’t realize, or did not want the ”game changer” to succeed, they continued with their core business of selling paper pictures, instead of selling memories.

We need to embrace the future and the spirit of change, create arenas where creative people and companies can meet, encourage more people to become entrepreneurs and promote more trade. This summit is a good way of doing that so let us continue with this positiv example and let us do that by even more collaboration.

The last topic I will talk about is; Tourism
The Tourism industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. Never before have so many people travelled the globe. The latest forecast I read estimated that the number of travelers will double in the coming decade. But tourism is more than just people visiting other countries.

Tourism is also a very good way of transferring welfare and money from one country to another. Tourism stimulates small businesses and local entrepreneurs and are also a important factor and driver for growth but also a driving factor for peace and prosperity.

When we travel we learn from each other, we learn new cultures, new way of thinking and the more we learn from each other the more we realize how close and similar we are. People that trust, know and are doing business with each other, usually call each other friends.

So, in conclusion I would like to say that, the three words I wanted to talk about today,, ”Education, Trade and Tourism” are a good way for us to start ”Consolidating  Friendship For Common Growth” and also a key factor for peace. We can do much more when we work together than when we work separately.

Thank you from the Åland Islands


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