Annika Saarikko, Finland's Minister of Finance and Chair of NIB's Board of Governors

31 Mar 2023

Finland’s Minister of Finance: Steering NIB towards a greener, more resilient Nordic-Baltic region

On 31 March, NIB’s Board of Governors announced the approval of the Bank’s 2022 annual results and a dividend payment of EUR 25 million to its Nordic and Baltic member countries. In a video interview, Annika Saarikko, Finland’s Minister of Finance and Chair of the Bank’s Board of Governors, shared her insights on the Bank’s performance and her vision for the future.

How would you characterise NIB’s performance in 2022?

In 2022, NIB showed strength in tackling the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and in its impact on the Nordic-Baltic region. Lending activities to Nordic-Baltic businesses across various sectors reached EUR 3.7 billion last year. NIB’s revised strategy effectively addressed environmental and productivity objectives while maintaining the triple-A credit rating.

How do you see the role of international financial institutions and the financial sector when tackling global challenges?

International financial institutions like NIB play a crucial role in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, by mobilising resources, facilitating sustainable investments, and supporting green economy transitions. They enable both public and private sectors to adopt ambitious climate targets and contribute to the global fight against climate change.

How do you see the economic outlook for the Nordic-Baltic region?

The Nordic-Baltic region’s economic outlook remains uncertain, mainly due to ongoing geopolitical issues. However, the region is determined to accelerate the green transition and focus on energy security. Despite challenges, there is a potential for growth, particularly in sustainable industries and infrastructure, research, innovation, and digitalisation.

How important is NIB’s dividend payment of EUR 25 million for 2022?

NIB’s dividend payments reflect its financial strength, value creation for owner countries, commitment to responsible fiscal management, and efficient resource use. In our dividend policy, we also take into account the importance of maintaining the triple-A credit rating.

What is your guidance for NIB in 2023?

As the Chair of NIB’s Board of Governors, my guidance for NIB is to continue focusing on the green transition and energy independence in the region. NIB should also strengthen its additionality, further engage with with market segments where the biggest financing needs exist. Developing and broadening its product offerings, contributing to capital market development, and advising stakeholders on their sustainability performance will be essential for the Bank too.

It should continue to provide long-term financing, playing a stabilising role in cooperation with other international financial institutions and financiers. The Bank should remain responsive to the evolving geopolitical situation and its potential impact on the Nordic-Baltic region. NIB should also consider the growing attention to the biodiversity agenda alongside climate concerns.

By focusing on these key areas, the Bank can ensure readiness to finance investments that accelerate the green transition and provide growth opportunities in the Nordic-Baltic region.

Watch the interview: