Dáil debates

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Trade Relations

11:10 am

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The level of economic activity between Ireland and Africa is at an all-time high. In 2021, trade in goods was at a record level of €2.41 billion. Trade in services, also at a record level of more than €4 billion, has been a particular success story, with service exports to Africa up by more than 300% in the ten years to 2020. There was an increase of 8% in Irish agrifood exports to Africa in 2021, which was a remarkably good performance within a difficult international context affected by the Covid pandemic. Ireland is one of the leading global exporters of dairy products to west Africa, while Irish spirits exports to the continent grew by a further 133% in 2021.

The Government's new trade and investment strategy, which tallies directly with the Deputy's question, positions Ireland to expand and diversify our trading relationship with Africa while growing it sustainably. Africa is a large and growing market, offering great potential for increased trade and investment. The Government's Africa strategy prioritises mutually beneficial trade and investment. Last month, the Cabinet discussed progress on its implementation. Action under the strategy has included the opening of a new embassy in Morocco last year, with another to open in Senegal in the coming months. Our State agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and IDA Ireland, have also strengthened their presence in Africa in recent years. Ireland has expanded its footprint in Africa, providing valuable entry points for new trade and investment.

Obviously, trade is an important focus of political engagements in the region. During my visit to Mozambique in May, I saw at first hand the potential for innovative partnerships. I met entrepreneurs in the areas of climate action and sustainability, who are supported by our embassy in Maputo. I also met Irish companies doing business locally in Mozambique. Importantly, the seventh Africa Ireland Economic Forum will take place on 30 June. This is a timely opportunity, coming out of the pandemic, to showcase the significant potential for growth in trade and investment between Ireland and Africa. The forum will bring business leaders from both together to generate new economic links.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.