Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Global Ireland: Ireland's Strategy for Africa to 2025 was published on 28 November 2019. My Department reports annually to Government on implementation of the strategy, with the reports for 2020 and 2021 available on www.gov.ie. The 2021 progress report was brought to Government last month to mark Africa Day.
The 2021 report shows that Ireland’s trade in goods with Africa increased to a record level of €2.42 billion, while trade in services reached all time high of just over €4 billion. The Africa Ireland Economic Forum, which my Department has convened for 30 June 2022, will help add further momentum to these trade and investment flows.
Diplomatic links are being strengthened. In 2020, Ireland became a member of the African Development Bank, opening trade and investment opportunities to Irish companies. Following the opening of an Embassy in Morocco in 2021, the Government has decided also to open an Embassy in Senegal. Also last year, Ireland was accepted as an associate member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, deepening our links with Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa and around the world.
Political contacts are strong. The Taoiseach participated in the EU-Africa Summit last February, chairing a roundtable on agriculture. Last year, Minister Coveney visited Kenya and Somalia for high level political meetings. Also in 2021, I participated in the African Union - EU Foreign Affairs Ministerial in Kigali, Rwanda, where I had bilateral meetings with Ministers from a number of African countries. I also visited Irish Aid projects in Rwanda and Uganda, where I also met with the Foreign Minister. Earlier this year, I was in Pretoria to co-chair with my South African counterpart the Joint Commission on Cooperation between our two countries. Last month, I saw the work of the Irish Aid programme in Mozambique, and co-chaired the annual political dialogue with Mozambique.
As an elected member of the UN Security Council Ireland is playing a leadership role in contributing to peace and security in Africa. Ireland is working closely with African partners on key Security Council matters including through our role as co-penholder on the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel and co-chair of the Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security. Ireland has also been at the forefront of efforts to address the conflict in Ethiopia at the Council.
Ireland took on a leadership role in responding to the COVID pandemic with African partners, building on decades of support for strengthening health systems in Africa. In Budget 2022, the Government increased the allocation to international development assistance to over €1 billion for 2022. This will allow for sustained investment in development across Africa, as well as an effective Irish response to growing humanitarian needs caused by conflict and climate change, as well the emerging food crisis which is a the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.