Trade and economic relations
Strengthened trade and investment
Our development programme has long recognised that economic and social development in our African partner countries cannot be driven by or based on external aid flows alone.
For example, efficient and fair tax systems are necessary to improve the business environment and to raise the revenue for sustainable social programmes, poverty reduction and the provision of services.
As the relationship between Ireland and Africa matures, we are looking to and preparing for expanded ties with African countries in the medium to long-term, which move beyond aid and towards more multi-faceted relationships incorporating strengthened trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people links.
Our enhanced trade focus is intended to complement our aid programme and support the stated aims of our partners in Africa - supporting independent development, while ensuring that growth is as inclusive as possible.
We are committed to an ethical approach to the promotion of business links with Africa. We are fully committed to the terms of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and relevant EU and OECD conventions against corruption.
Improving business environments and developing the private sector
Our priority areas of focus are:
To encourage and facilitate increased two-way trade and investment between Ireland and countries in Africa. The Strategy outlines a number of initiatives that will be pursued, including;
Existing Irish Aid funded trade-focused initiatives will be reviewed to consolidate experiences gained and lessons learned to date and outline activities in the future. Consideration will also be given to funding for a number of new initiatives in Irish Aid programme countries to support two-way trade and investment.
We are aiming to scale up our dialogue with the South African Government and, through the Embassy in Pretoria, strengthen our engagement on South Africa’s economic priorities.
Through existing contacts with multinational companies, we are exploring ways in which it may be possible to provide mentoring/advice to smaller companies seeking to enter the African market.
We are expanding business networks, both in the different African regions and with Multinationals who are based in Ireland and service African markets form here.
How we are implementing the strategy
A new and stronger trade promotion mandate has been given to our Embassies in Africa and staff in the Embassies and in Honorary Consulates has received training, delivered in co-operation with Enterprise Ireland.
The Africa Ireland Economic Forum has been held annually since 2011, with the aim of providing networking opportunities for Irish businesses and African delegates to identify areas for mutually beneficial trade and investment.
In February 2012 Enterprise Ireland established its first office in Sub Saharan Africa in Johannesburg in South Africa.
A new collaborative initiative with the Department of Agriculture, the Africa Agri-Food Development Fund was launched in March 2012, which aims to support the development of the agricultural and food sectors in Africa.
Read the full Africa Strategy (PDF, 3.4mb) for more information.
Each Irish Embassy in Africa has a dedicated Economic/Trade Focal Person. Contact details are available on individual Embassy websites.
Africa and Ireland: Our Partnership with a Changing Continent – Progress Report to the Africa Ireland Economic Forum (PDF, 899kb)