State visit to the Argentine Republic: Speech at business seminar
Ladies and gentlemen
"Para bailar con vos hay que sacar número, pero la espera vale la pena".
To dance with you I have to line up, but the wait is worth the prize.
The King and I are delighted to be here – and to finally be in Argentina. We have really been looking forward to this visit, and we greatly appreciate the warm welcome we have received.
I will get back to the dance!
But first, I would like to thank our hosts for making this magnificent venue available to us. The Palacio San Martín tells it’s own story of the long-standing relations between Argentina and Norway. It was designed by Alejandro Christophersen, a Norwegian architect who emigrated to Argentina and made a name for himself in Buenos Aires close to the end of the nineteenth century.
Our surroundings today remind us that Argentina and Norway have enjoyed friendly relations for a long time. Our embassy opened its doors in 1906 to serve the considerable Norwegian maritime activities in this region – just one year after Norway became independent.
Business cooperation is an important topic for this visit. The title of this seminar – "A New Partnership for Value Creation" – reflects our ambitious goals for increased business cooperation. Which in turn hopefully will lead to greater prosperity, more jobs and better welfare in both countries. But the benefits need not stop there. Our joint ambition should be to find new solutions to global challenges – as stated in our common sustainable development goals.
We are visiting Argentina at a very interesting time. Our countries share many of the same values. Both attach importance to international cooperation. We both see modernisation and innovation as keys to economic growth and our countries’ welfare.
An essential element in these factors is new technology. It is changing the way we work and the way we live our lives. It is changing the world. Technology is developing rapidly. We must grasp the opportunities, and use its full potential. New technology is helping us to modernise the public sector, and boost innovation and economic growth. It is helping us to improve our welfare systems and provide people with the services they need. It is helping us to cut costs, and it is enabling businesses to prosper.
However, we must also ensure the full participation of the whole population in these developments. Nobody should be left behind. We must make sure that every individual in both our countries has the opportunity to realise his or her full potential.
This leads me to another issue close to my heart: Equality between men and women. There have been many brave women whose work and deeds have had great impact on both our countries. But we don’t always hear about them. Too often history is about men – and told by men. The same could perhaps be said for many businesses too?
If we really want to modernise our societies, we cannot ignore this issue. Women must have the same chance to contribute to, and benefit from, this new wave of modernisation. And this must also apply to the positions at top level.
We are seeing improvements. Still, progress is too slow. Norway is often at the top of the league table when it comes to gender equality. Nevertheless, only 16 % of the top management positions in listed companies in Norway are headed by women. And maybe the situation is not much better in Argentina?
We need more women at the top. In Argentina, in Norway – and all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Back to the dance! The King and I have had the great pleasure of watching some magnificent tango during this visit. The tango is a fascinating dance. So full of passion. Of beauty. And very engaging. I yesterday learnt that without balance between the genders, no tango.
A lot of hard work is necessary to dance the tango. Therefore, careful coordination and close cooperation is needed before two people are able to dance in perfect harmony. Maybe we could we say the same when it comes to businesses?
We know that it takes two to tango.
It is therefore very encouraging to see such a large group here today, with representatives from many prominent businesses.
I hope this will prove to be a valuable opportunity to share perspectives on modernisation. And hopefully, it will lead on to the establishment of new partnerships.
I wish you a most successful seminar. And maybe you will find perfect dance partners, too?