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Trade Missions and International Events


Trade Mission to the Gulf Region - 19th – 24th April, 2015

Enterprise Ireland’s trade mission to the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar commences on Sunday 19th April 2015 and will run for 5 days, taking in 5 cities;

  • United Arab Emirates, Dubai 19th April 2015
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah 20th April 2015
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh 21st April 2015
  • Qatar, Doha 22nd April 2015
  • United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi 23rd April 2015

Richard Bruton T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will lead the Enterprise Ireland mission to the Gulf region before continuing to India for a 4 day investment mission with the IDA.

63 Irish companies are participating in the Enterprise Ireland trade mission to the Gulf region accompanied by Brendan Flood, International Sales & Partnering Manager Enterprise Ireland.

The mission has been co-ordinated by Sean Davis, Enterprise Ireland’s Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region and his team. According to Sean, “in line with Enterprise Irelands strategy, this Trade Mission provides a key foundation on which to build strong economic links with KSA, Qatar and the UAE. The high level meetings will serve to bolster the relationship adding to the productive political and diplomatic relations, necessary for moving forward on the various trade, investment and commercial agendas’.

‘The visit will facilitate practical relationship building for Enterprise Ireland client companies with their current and prospective counterparts in the region, as well as raising the profile of Ireland at the highest levels of Government in the three countries.

“It will be a strong platform to promote Ireland and its companies as strategic partners across multiple sectors and how Enterprise Ireland can act as a conduit to those world class goods and services”.

The key sectors of focus for this trade mission are:

  • Aviation
  • Higher Education
  • IT, Software and Services
  • Smart Environment/Energy services
  • Life Sciences
  • Water/Waste Water
  • Agricultural technology
  • Business and Consumer Services


Participating companies


News and Media

Fast Facts on the Gulf


Country population (m) – expats as % of pop. (2013)30.7 – 329.3 – 842.2 – 88
GDP Current - US$ 16,768 billion (est 2013)748,450402,340213.784
GDP Growth Rate -  (2013)45.36.2
Total Imports as % of GDP30.677.725.8
Total Exports As % OF GDP51.898.471.7
Income per capita (USD)53,64459,845136,727
Internet users (% of population)59.2493.2496.65
Ease of doing business ranking492250

*World Bank 2014       

Qatar’s tiny size and a population of just over 2 million belies its considerable financial might. It is the region’s fastest growing economy with the highest per-capita income ($136,727, World Bank 2014) of any country in the world. Qatar is still at a relatively early stage of market development from an Irish perspective, but already there have been initiatives to strengthen the Irish presence in this Gulf State. Qatar’s ambitious development plans for its non-energy sector is creating a broad range of opportunities in infrastructure, education and health. Considered to be one of the more progressive states in the region, Qatar’s profile has been boosted significantly by winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup which alone will cost an estimated $200 billion-plus to stage. Other facts:

Saudi Arabia is a growing economy with a high per-capita income. In 2014, the Saudi economy expanded by 3.6 percent, accelerating from 2.7 percent in 2013. Despite the plunge in oil prices, overall economic growth is forecasted to reach 2.5 percent in 2015. Over the past 14 years, actual government spending has surpassed the budgeted figures and market observers say this trend is set to continue. Saudi Arabia has substantially boosted spending on job training and education, most recently with the opening of the King Abdallah University of Science and Technology - Saudi Arabia's first co-educational university. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has plans to build 700 schools, 18 education cities and 300 healthcare clinics. Moreover, as energy demand increases further throughout the world, those same natural resources are creating strong long-term economic prospects for the Kingdom.

Having been accepted to the World Trade Organisation in 2005, Saudi Arabia has since made strides to open its economy and to establish itself as a favourable location for inward investment. From an Irish perspective, more than 160 companies already sell into Saudi Arabia. Business opportunities for Irish firms are plentiful in a range of sectors, including information and communications technology, education and training, financial services, healthcare, aviation, agri tech and waste water. A forecast report prepared by DKM for the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce suggests Irish trade with Arab countries has the potential to increase to €9 billion over the next two decades. As the largest market in the region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will be a key focus for much of this anticipated growth.

The United Arab Emirates has transformed itself into the financial gateway to the region and is now a major business and tourism hub for the entire Gulf – principally the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Having built an open economy noted for its ease of doing business, the UAE is a magnet for expatriates: of the 9.3 million population living in the seven emirates, over 80 per cent hail from outside the country. The UAE is a significant consumer of Irish goods and services. While still a strong exporter of oil, the UAE has successfully managed to diversify from relying solely on hydrocarbons, with the result that 70 per cent of its GDP now comes from non-oil activity. The UAE, while already undergoing considerable development, has recently unveiled plans such as Abu Dhabi 2030, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid City, the recently completed Al Maktoum International Airport with capacity for 160M passengers, and in November 2013 it was announced that Dubai will host the 2020 world Expo. There are currently around 300 Irish companies exporting to the GCC, 70 of which have operations in UAE, typically sales and marketing and in some cases research.

For more information on doing business in the Gulf region, please contact:

Sean Davis
Enterprise Ireland - Regional Manager MENA

Click here to email Sean Davis, Enterprise IrelandSean Davis


TM Gulf 2015 infographic

Download Infographic (PNG format)

Our programme of trade missions, trade fairs and knowledge events give clients the opportunity to connect with existing and new customers, access key decision makers, increase sales in international markets and exchange ideas. Click here for our Calendar of Events.