Africa Ireland Economic Forum 2014 – October 29th-30th.
Africa Ireland Economic Forum (AIEF) began back in 2011 through a partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the African Diplomatic Corps in Ireland.
AIEF has been acting as a networking platform for Irish business leaders and African delegates aimed at identifying investment areas that are mutually beneficial to both the Irish and their African counterparts. Stats have it that between 2010-2013, the transactions between Africa and Ireland increased by 35% from €1.7bn to more than €2.3bn.
This year’s event themed “Transformation through Technology” will kick off on October 29th to 31st. The event will deliberate on how new businesses and employment opportunities are being created by technology, particularly the mobile technology which has taken the African continent by storm.
Speaker at the event includes Dr Carlos Lopes, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa and Simon Milner, the Policy Director, UK, Middle East and Africa, Facebook.
The AIEF 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 event marks Ireland’s biggest annual economic event in Africa and is currently going for its fourth year in a row.
Ireland has steadily been increasing its interacting with African countries through various initiatives ranging from political, economic and development. Irish president, Michael D Higgins is set to travel to Malawi, Ethiopia and South Africa in November.
Summary of trade between Africa and Ireland
Total merchandise trade between Ireland and Africa increased by 35% from 2010 to 2013 from €1.7bn to just over €2.3bn.
Exports from Ireland increased by about 25% while imports from sub-Saharan Africa countries doubled.
Total services trade in 2012 was €1.7bn in 2013 (2013 stats 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
For the year 2013, countries across Africa registered a growth rate of 4.8% and it’s projected to reach 5.1% in 2014. Ireland has acknowledge Africa can’t still be viewed as a marginal player in the international economy.
Ireland re-opened its Kenyan embassy, essentially giving it a presence in the strongest economies in East, West and Southern Africa markets. Ireland now has 12 embassies across Africa.
Irish officers in the various embassies in Africa have been designated as Trade Focal Points and are working to identify and foster opportunities for Irish businesses to grow and expand in Africa.
For more on the Africa Ireland Economic Forum 2014 follow this link.