African markets have more potential for Irish exporters over the next decade than China.

African markets have more potential for Irish exporters over the next decade than China, state Irish Exporters Association, at Launch of the Barclays Bank publication of ‘Trading with Africa –the opportunities for Irish Businesses’.

Ahead of the Ministerial led Trade mission to South Africa setting out Monday 12th November; the IEA chief executive John Whelan was speaking at the Barclays bank Africa Forum and advised;

“Exports of Goods and Services to Africa last year reached €2.7 billion, an increase of 200% over the 3 years since 2009. This growth has been achieved despite the disruption of the Arab Spring across North Africa. The IEA are confident that continued rapid growth can be achieved if we can utilise our strong embassy structure across Africafor trade promotional purposes”.

He went on to say; “Exports to Africa have the realistic potential to reach €24 billion by the end of the decade, which is much greater than that forecast for China. But political dialogue and support will be essential across the many countries that make up the continent of Africa, if we are to achieve this high export growth”

“Ireland has a very enviable reputation across Africa arising from its educational and aid support delivered for many decades across Africa. But other countries are now eating our trade breakfast, as the continent has moved to fastest growing region globally according to the IMF”.

“We need to stop smelling the roses in Africa and start upping our game in terms of trading , before the Chinese andGermany and other trading competitors close out the market opportunities. We have 11 embassies and a range of consulates across Africa, but only one with a trade attaché”.

John Whelan quoted from the Barclays bank publication, which surveyed Irish exporter’s experiences in trade support for Africa;

Survey question; is the Government doing enough to bolster Irish African trade?

Respondents reply; 55% stated –they are doing nothing to boost trade flows.

(Only 2% of respondents stated the Government are boosting trade flows substantially.)

In conclusion the IEA’ s Vice President Hugh Kelly before setting out on the Ministerial led Trade Mission, organised by Enterprise Ireland from the 12th-14th

November and visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town stated ; “This is an important first step along the way to greater trade promotional activity in the region. The value of Minister Costello’s presence and support as well as that of senior representatives from the DFA&T and Enterprise Ireland on this and regular missions going forward must not be underestimated if we are to build sustainable momentum in these markets.”

The Trade mission will focus on the growth sectors of Telecommunications, Financial Services Technology, and Medical Devices/Life Sciences and profile Ireland’s capability in these sectors.

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