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June 2016 - N°5
The Chamber opens the doors to...
        ...the city of Oslo
            with Geir Lippestad,
the city of Oslo's commissioner for Industry and Ownership
Oslo is admired for its quality of life but suffers from a lack of international recognition when it comes to business and innovation, especially compared to other Nordic capitals. What is the strategy of the new city government to close the gap with cities like Stockholm or Copenhagen?
I wouldn't say that Oslo has a lack of recognition but we lack visibility. Oslo is not well known by the world, and more people would consider us if they knew we existed. As the global competition between cities increases, we risk being left behind. The good news is that we have a lot to offer the world. Oslo can be global, competitive, and is already attractive and full of opportunities.
When it comes to innovation and industrial development, maritime industries and technologies have over many decades underlined Oslo as a world leader. We see this also in offshore where Oslo next to cities like Stavanger, Trondheim and Bergen has contributed to the Norwegian offshore technology being globally sought after.
This is followed up by Oslo's government - and in our time the focus is strongly on knowledge-based industries with the world as its market. The most important precondition for success here is access to expertise and venture capital. Norway has fortunately both financial and technological resources that enable us succeed far more than others.
Could you please tell us about your plan to transform Oslo into one of the smartest cities in Europe?
This is related to my previous answer - and again we see surprisingly good results in the greatest challenge our world is facing, namely climate and environmental developments. The world's great cities are now flowing to Oslo to see how and learn of our policies on the launch of electric cars, which is absolutely fundamental to reducing the environmentally harmful emissions from transport. Introduction of electric cars has given impetus to the development of all the important infrastructure electric transport assumes that charging stations, parking, and energy supply.
Environmental issues have been high in Oslo for many years, and we note that both in district heating plants based on waste incineration and distribution of energy, we have solutions that other cities now request. Smart City has an overriding goal to cities with harmony and well-being of the citizens, and we therefore have to constantly work with new solutions. And this is where cooperation with other cities is important, both to learn from each other and carry out joint development.
Oslo signed a MoU with the City of Toulouse during the French Norwegian Day 2015 organized by the CCFN. How is this partnership materializing?
The MoU between Oslo and Toulouse is based on the two issues that I have discussed in the previous questions. It is targeted to develop cooperation between strategically important industry clusters in our two cities. Smart City, intelligent transport solutions, environmental development, and energy supply in major cities along with sectors such as space science, aerospace, medical welfare technology and medical research on cancer has formed the basis for cooperation. We have, since the MoU work began, seen encouraging growth in contacts between our two cities, and per today there are over 20 individual projects which are either initiated or about to be set in motion between the corporate network in Oslo and Toulouse.
The MoU has become one of the largest areas of cooperation whatsoever between Norway and France, after oil and fish exports, which gives an indication of the importance of the relations between Oslo and Toulouse.
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