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Africa Ireland Economic Forum 2014

The Africa Ireland Economic Forum takes place from 29 – 30 October 2014. The forum is an opportunity for Irish business to connect with African partners to explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial trade and investment. Total merchandise trade between Ireland and Africa increased by 35% from 2010-2013, from just over €1.7bn to over €2.3bn.

Africa Ireland Economic Forum 2014

This year the forum will focus on Transformation through Technology and the new business and employment opportunities being created by technology, particularly mobile technology which is transforming the way ideas are communicated and business is conducted across Africa. The Africa Ireland Economic Forum is co-hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the African Diplomatic Corps in Ireland. The forum is an opportunity for Irish business to connect with African partners to explore opportunities for mutually beneficial trade and investment. The AIEF is Ireland’s largest annual Africa-focussed economic event and is in its fourth year.

Total merchandise trade between Ireland and Africa increased in 2010-2013, from just over €1.7bn to over €2.3bn

Ireland’s relations with African countries are becoming much broader, encompassing strong political, economic, and development connections. President Michael D Higgins will travel to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa next month.

Trade, investment and business connections between Ireland and Africa are growing.

Current trade between Ireland and Africa:

  • Total merchandise trade between Ireland and Africa increased by 35% from 2010-2013, from just over €1.7bn to just over €2.3bn.
  • Exports from Ireland increased by approximately 25% while imports from sub-Saharan African countries doubled.
  • Total services trade in 2012 was €1.7bn in 2012. (figures for 2013 not yet available).
  • African partners identify job creation, foreign direct investment, trade, indigenous enterprise and private sector development as key drivers of development.

Opportunities for Irish businesses in Africa

  • From the Irish perspective, Africa can no longer be viewed as a marginal player in economic terms, with growth rates across the continent for 2013 averaging at 4.8% for 2013 and projections for 2014 at 5.1%.
  • Ireland has just re-opened an embassy in Kenya, meaning we are now represented in the strongest economies of West, East and Southern Africa – Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. There are now 12 Embassies in Africa.
  • Officers in Embassies in Africa have been designated as Trade Focal Points and these Embassies are working to identify and foster opportunities for Irish businesses to grow expand and grow their business in Africa. Examples include Ethiopia, where the Embassy has assisted companies facing market access issues; Kenya, where the Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam (then accredited to Kenya) was at the forefront of the establishment of the Kenya Irish Business Network; and Uganda, where the Embassy is actively supporting Traidlinks in their work with the private sector in the country.