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Difficulties of African Food and restaurants to gain a foot hold in Finnish restaurant sector

Monday, 30 May 2011
African restaurants find it difficult to get a foothold in Finland just as it is in most other countries with low African population. Specifically, sub-Saharan African restaurants are the one referred to here despite the fact that food from the African countries is often tipped to be the next fashion after Asian cuisine.
Weak economic status of the African and their low entrepreneurial drive are being blamed for the low being observed.

In Finland, some of the some of the few restaurants that open cannot make it on the Finnish restaurant market sector.

Exhibiting at the Finnish World Village Festival in Helsinki this past weekend, African food was in abundance on display. However, when it comes to commercial terms, it is difficult to find it elsewhere.

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There are ethnic food restaurants in Finland—for example, quite a few Nepalese eateries have opened along with the well-established Chinese and kebab places. Every sixth restaurant owner in Finland has a foreign background, reports Yle, the Finnish national broadcaster.


In the Helsinki metropolitan area, this statistic goes up to every fourth restaurant owner. Most of these places are pizzerias, but ethnic cuisine is also a feature of Finland’s restaurant scene.
However, Yle notes that African food restaurants are few and far in between—and even so, a couple of them have already closed.

“In Finland, people tend to avoid places where you have good number of Africans sitting inside,” says Humphrey Kalanje, former chair of the Finnish-Tanzanian Association to Yle.

Most arrivals from Africa are not entrepreneurs, but rather students or asylum seekers, which makes the task of running a restaurant more difficult. What they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm, though.

“Of course I would like to establish my own restaurant,” says Linge Ayubah Ndambangha, a student from Cameroon to Yle. “Many Cameroonians believe we are tall because of our Cameroonian food. Why not bring that kind of food in Finland and try it for people to also get that kind of experience?” he ponders.

Visitors at the World Village Festival said they enjoyed African food. Those bringing exotic food returned the favour—Mulki Mölsä from Somalia said to Yle that all Somalis like Finland’s Karelian hot-pot, beef and onion stew.
By Scancomark.se Team. News Source Yle.fi


Key Finnish Facts
Official Name Republic of Finland
President Tarja Halonen
Prime minister
Population 5.3 Million
Capital City Helsinki
Monetary Unit Euro (€)
  €1 = 100 cent
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Official Language Finish - 92%
Swedish - 6%
Religion Christianity
Main stock market Name NASDQ OMX Helsinki 25
Internet Speed 4.5 Mbps (2009)
Vital Links
Finnish Government
OECD data on Finland
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