We invite you to join the Team Finland visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 23–28 November 2019 led by Ms. Kirsi Varhila, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The focus of the visit is Food & Health. In both KSA and UAE, transforming healthcare is high on the agenda and there is growing consumer demand for food products and innovative solutions that support healthy lifestyles and well-being.
Health: Finland offers health promotion and related innovations as well as research and expertise that support KSA's 2030 strategy towards a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. KSA health care system has benefited from substantive investment in recent decades and the country is determined to optimize and better utilize the capacity of hospitals and health care centers, and enhance the quality of preventive and therapeutic health care services. The MoU signed in 2017 has already opened business opportunities for Finnish companies and there is room for more.
Food: The Finnish food offering includes healthy, pure, natural and safe products supporting and promoting healthy life styles. Life style related diseases are expanding widely in the Middle East, partly due to unhealthy diet. The global healthy food trend is now progressing also to this area and the interest towards healthy eating and sports is growing. At the same time, the traditional retailing format is changing into modern retailing with super and hypermarkets offering a wide selection of packaged foods, promotions and offers. Online shopping is growing fast too. With growing women's rights leading to higher employment rate, the demand of convenience products is increasing.
Health: Transforming healthcare and personal life have been high in agenda of the UAE. Finland has a range of solutions to co-create digital infrastructure and cost-efficient and innovative healthcare and well-being solutions. New hospitals are being built and renovated. Private sector investors are deeply involved in this sector. Generally citizens in the UAE are ready for healthier lifestyles and keen to use different digital solutions in order to support this. Senior sector solutions have also started to create more interest.
Food: The standard of living in the UAE is one of the highest in the world and many Emiratis and high-skilled expats, representing around 80% of the population, enjoy very luxurious lifestyles. However, the slowing economy has slowed the consumption to some extent as well. Obesity and lifestyle related diseases are a growing national health problem also in UAE creating concern also on governmental level. Awareness of healthy eating is growing fast and imported food plays a big role. Western retailers are already dominating the market: Carrefour is the largest retailing group of the country. Online shopping and social media have an extremely important role especially in younger UAE citizens' lives.
To cover the expenses of arranging the visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Business Finland will charge a participation fee. Business Finland will invoice the participation fee after the visit based on the actual costs.
The amount of the participation fee will be announced in the invitation in August 2019.