Experts highlight potential for trade growth between Ireland and Africa
Press release30 June 2022
Trade between Ireland and African countries is at record levels and has the potential to grow significantly in the years ahead, a conference will hear today.
The Africa Ireland Economic Forum (AIEF) sees business leaders from across Ireland and Africa meet to explore ways to grow trade and investments in both directions over the coming years.
Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, said:
“Africa’s potential is not theoretical – it is happening now. We are focused on building Ireland’s economic, political and cultural links right across the continent. The Forum provides the opportunity to consider how Ireland can strengthen its support for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. There is a focus on leveraging technology and innovation for Africa’s growth, prioritising women entrepreneurs and climate-smart innovation. I believe these are areas in which Irish companies have a wealth of experience to share with African partners.”
Colm Brophy T.D., Minister for Overseas Aid and the Diaspora, added:
“Ireland has decades of experience in working in partnership with Africa. While huge challenges remain, there is no doubt that economic growth is delivering transformative results across the continent. Our own experience of economic development can be useful to our African friends.”
Among the positive economic developments between Ireland and Africa are:
- In 2021, trade in goods between Ireland and Africa increased to a record level of €2.41 billion (€1.85 billion in Irish exports and €0.55 billion in Irish imports).
- Trade in services has also been a particular success story in recent years, now at a record level of just over €4 billion (€3.5 billion in exports and €0.57 billion in imports).
- Africa was Ireland’s fastest growing export market in 2020 for dairy, seafood and beverages.
- In 2021, the value of agri-food exports to Africa increased by a further 8% to €880 million, doubling in the space of a decade, while Irish spirits exports to Africa grew by 133%.
- Nigeria was Ireland’s largest agri-food export market in Africa in 2021, accounting for 24% of the market share at €210 million.
- South Africa was the largest African export partner overall in 2021 – with €380 million in exports – followed by Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria.
The Africa Ireland Economic Forum (AIEF) takes place today at the RDS in Dublin. Speakers at the Africa Ireland Economic Forum include:
- Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence;
- Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria;
- Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group;
- Colm Brophy, T.D., Minister for Overseas Development Aid & Diaspora;
- Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity;
- Dr. Jane Feehan, Head of West Africa representation for the European Investment Bank;
- Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland;
- Shane Hamill, Bord Bia’s Interim Director of Global Business Development;
- Allen Sophia Asiimwe, Deputy CEO and Chief of Programmes, TradeMark East Africa.
Note for Editors
- The Africa Ireland Economic Forum is a key component of the Global Ireland Strategy for Africa. The theme of the Africa Ireland Economic Forum is ‘Prospering Post-Pandemic: Towards a Sustainable, Greener Future’. For a full list of speakers, visit https://dfa.ie/aief/speakers/
- There will be panel discussions on topics including regional trade, green growth in the agriculture, food and energy sectors, women’s economic empowerment, and how technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are being leveraged for Africa’s growth. A full conference programme is available https://dfa.ie/aief/programme/
30 June 2022