Minister Flanagan leads major Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa
27th May 2015
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., is today (Wednesday, 27 May 2015) leading 34 Irish companies in a major drive to increase Irish exports to South Africa.
The four-day trade mission, organised by Enterprise Ireland, is focused on key sectors where Irish companies have particularly strong capabilities including technology, telecommunications, aviation, engineering, energy, and financial services.
The expansive sectoral focus is mirrored by a strong regional diversification in the companies represented on the trade mission; with participation from Cork, Laois, Galway, Louth, Mayo, Wicklow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Cavan and Dublin all represented.
During the four days, over 200 meetings will be held between Irish companies and potential business partners and customers, along with five major business networking events.
Speaking before his departure, Minister Flanagan said:
“The importance of this trade mission is exemplified by the fact that the African region now represents a $2 trillion economy and is the second fastest-growing region in the world after South East Asia. With a population of over 50 million, South Africa offers significant opportunities for Irish companies and is a gateway to the rest of Southern Africa. Growth in trade and investment resulting from trade missions such as this supports jobs in Ireland and is an essential part of the Action Plan for Jobs and the Government Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy".
“I am delighted to be leading this multi-sectoral trade mission that is comprised of so many Irish companies that are leaders in their specific sectors and that hail from every province of Ireland. A key Government priority is balanced and well dispersed regional economic development, as reflected in this year’s new five year €250m strategy ‘Action Plan for Jobs – Regional’.This new strategy, based on the highly successful annual Action Plan for Jobs model, sets out actions, timelines and agency responsibilities, to accelerate jobs growth in towns and villages across the country, as part of our overall plan to deliver full employment by 2018.
“Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Pretoria have been working closely as part of the Irish Ambassador-led local market team, to build a strong awareness of Ireland among business and opinion leaders in South Africa. This was greatly facilitated by the official visit to South Africa by the President, in November last year and former Minister Joe Costello’s trade mission in 2013.”
During the trade mission, Minister Flanagan will have a series of high level business engagements with private and public organisations, supporting Irish companies’ efforts in these markets. He will promote Ireland and our world-class industry clusters and undertake a series of engagements with representatives of the Irish business community in South Africa.
Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, who is accompanying Minister Flanagan on the trade mission, added:
“We have have been working with Irish companies to help them develop significant trading relationships in Africa for over a decade. We have helped many Irish companies to grow their market share in Africa across a range of sectors. This trade mission will put a spotlight on the great products and services coming out of Ireland and highlight the significant opportunity that exists within the African markets for ambitious capable Irish companies to expand their market share. The associated export gains will contribute directly to jobs growth and prosperity at home in Ireland".
The trade mission is in line with Ireland’s Africa Strategy which was unveiled at the first Africa Ireland Economic Forum in September 2011. The Africa Strategy is a long-term strategy encompassing bilateral trade growth, significant development initiatives and increased collaboration. Spearheading Ireland’s trade development initiatives, Enterprise Ireland established an office in Johannesburg in 2013 and a trade representative office in Lagos, Nigeria last year.
Notes for editors
In line with Enterprise Ireland’s strategy, the trade mission provides a key foundation on which to strengthen economic, political and cultural links with South Africa, one of the 27 priority markets identified in Government Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy, a review of which was launched in February 2014. This mission, taking place seven months after President Higgins’ official visit, will help those Irish companies already active in the South African market to further develop sales and exports contacts, and strengthen their relationships with key contacts.