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Minister visits Ghana and Nigeria to increase trade and investment with West Africa

Trade, Press Releases, Africa, 2012

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD today begins a five-day visit to Ghana and Nigeria to discuss measures to increase trade with Ireland.

Minister Costello, who is accompanied by representatives from Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, will meet leading Irish investors and local business leaders in both countries and hold high-level political discussions. 

Minister Costello will also visit the University of Ghana to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the appointment of Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien as Vice Chancellor by Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah. He will make an address and present a copy of Dr O Brien’s memoirs to the library.

During his visit, Minister Costello will visit Tema Port in Ghana which has benefited from Irish Aid support for a partnership programme with Dublin Port Company, the Port of Cork and Belfast Harbour Commissioners.  The Minister will see the impact of the port-management training programme, which is run by the United Nations with the support of Irish Aid, and highlight the importance of Ireland’s engagement in port management.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister Costello said: 

“Ireland opened our first African Embassy in Nigeria in 1961. Over the past 50 years, trade and investment between our countries – and indeed with Africa as a whole - has grown steadily. My visit this week will allow me to assess the opportunities for greater bilateral trade and consult with those who have been successful in the local market. This is in line with my Department’s Africa Strategy, which sets out how we will increase two-way trade with Africa.  I am particularly pleased that both Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland are participating in the mission.

“My visit to Tema Port, which serves Ghana and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, will allow me to explore how Ireland, with our strong experience  in the port sector, can further assist countries across Africa who are developing their ports to increase trade and business opportunities.  As an island nation, Ireland is almost totally dependent on our ports for trade. Dublin Port alone is responsible for handling 42% of our GDP. There are many lessons to be shared between Ireland and Africa in this very strategic sector. ”

On Monday, Minister Costello will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the appointment of Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien as Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana.

Minister Costello said:  

“Conor Cruise O’Brien challenged conventional wisdoms during a long and varied career in Government, at the United Nations, in academia and in the media. I am very pleased to celebrate his contribution to education in Ghana.  He was one of many Irish educators who have a proud legacy in Africa.”

Minister Costello will visit two established Irish businesses in Nigeria: the Guinness Nigeria Plant and the Nutricima factory in Lagos, in which Glanbia has invested substantially. He will also hold consultations with Ghanaian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Governor of Lagos State, Babtunde Fashola.