Ireland Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, is in Johannesburg today, 11 November 2013, leading 37 Irish companies in a major drive to increase Irish exports to South Africa and Nigeria.
The five day trade mission, organised by Enterprise Ireland in close cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassies of Ireland in Pretoria and Abuja, will focus on Financial Services in Johannesburg, Telecommunications in Cape Town and Financial Services and Education in Lagos.
Underlining the importance Ireland places on Southern Africa as a trade destination, Minister Costello will officially open Enterprise Ireland’s new office in Johannesburg today.
South Africa is the economic hub and gateway for access to Sub-Saharan Africa – a market of over 900 million people. Enterprise Ireland client companies exported more than €400m worth of goods and services in 2012, representing a 20% increase since 2010, while 30 Irish companies have a presence on the ground.
The trade mission will also visit Nigeria, supporting Enterprise Ireland’s “hub and spoke” approach to driving exports in other key economic growth areas in Sub-Sahara Africa. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has a GDP rate of 7% per annum. Minister Costello will support Enterprise Ireland’s drive to develop trade in this important emerging market in West Africa.
Speaking before the trade mission Minister Costello said, “Day after day our Embassies, across the globe, in close co-operation with the State Agencies, are busy promoting Ireland as a destination for inward investment and R&D; negotiating market access for Irish goods; building business networks to benefit Irish companies and organising high-level visits and trade missions.”
“I am particularly pleased to be returning with a large trade mission to South Africa, building on the success of the Enterprise Ireland mission I led last year with the support of our Embassy in South Africa. This trade mission is an excellent example of how critical this work is to Ireland’s economic recovery. It is estimated that total exports of Irish goods and services to Africa reached €2.7billion last year – an increase of 200% since 2009 – and I am confident we can increase this further.”
“The trade mission to Nigeria is the first of its kind organised by Enterprise Ireland, with the support of my Department and our Embassy in Nigeria, and is a clear indicator of the level of opportunity that exists for innovative Irish companies. Growth in trade and investment resulting from trade missions supports jobs in Ireland and is an important part of the Government’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy, the Action Plan for Jobs and my Department’s Africa Strategy.”
Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager with Enterprise Ireland, who is accompanying Minister Costello on the trade mission, commented,“In South Africa our objective is to drive continued growth in Irish exports and build on the existing strong trade links that exist between Ireland and South Africa. In Nigeria, which is viewed as a developing market, Enterprise Ireland has established a strong network of pathfinders and sector experts allowing us to support clients in this important emerging market in a very robust and seamless manner.”
“The ultimate objective of all Enterprise Ireland trade missions is to help our client companies grow their export sales, sustaining and creating jobs in Ireland”.
Minister Costello’s schedule includes a series of meetings with Irish companies and their partners and customers; high level meetings with key industry players and officials and a series of networking events to promote Irish companies.
The Minister will also visit the Africa Com expo where Enterprise Ireland will host an Ireland Pavilion of six companies for the second consecutive year.