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Multi-billion euro business potential in Africa

Trade, News/feature, Africa, 2012

The Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD today launched a report which identifies up to €12 billion worth of potential business in Africa for Irish companies.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade part funded the report which focuses on opportunities for Irish companies engaged in four key sectors: energy and renewable energy, infrastructure, water and mining.

Winning Business in Africa – Building a Cluster for Infrastructure Projects details more than 100 publicly-funded projects in 11 African countries which are due to come on-stream in the next five years with a combined value of €12 billion. The report was prepared as part of the Winning Business in Africa programme, a joint initiative between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and IBEC’s Engineering sector, the Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation, which is designed to increase opportunities for Irish companies in the African market.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister Costello said:

“Africa is a dynamic continent, where growth rates in many countries reached 7% over the last five years. Irish companies are very well placed to meet the exponential growth in demand for goods and services across the continent. The recent partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, IBEC’s Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation and Enterprise Ireland is a practical example of how we can work together to identify new business opportunities for our highly-competitive companies.

Winning Business in Africa is strategically focused on key African countries and the four sectors which are critical to economic development. Irish companies are eligible to bid for more than 100 large-scale public programmes identified in this report, which will prove a vital resource in clarifying the opportunities which exist and the steps which must be taken to position our indigenous companies to successfully enter this important market. I am particularly pleased to note the proposed approach that Irish companies should seek to develop clusters to deepen our competitive advantage. 

The Irish Embassy network across Africa will support Irish business to follow up on the recommendations in this report. Across Africa, our Ambassadors are working closely with the private sector to establish Irish Business Associations which can support new entrants to the local market. This is very much in keeping with my Department’s Africa Strategy, which was launched last year.”

Speaking at the launch, Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation Chair, Gerry Donovan (BOC Gases) said “There are currently over 20 companies in the Winning Business in Africa programme, which employ over 23,000 people. The projects were chosen in line with the competencies and expertise of these companies, which formed four business sectors: energy/renewable, infrastructure, water and mining.”

“The goal is to develop a pipeline of addressable projects for Irish-based engineering companies involved in these business clusters.  The projects include emerging opportunities early in the project cycle: over 50% of the project and funding identified by the report are at an early stage of the cycle and hence the key stage for entry; an opportune time for members to incorporate this information into their business development plans.”

“Now that the companies have this information, it is hoped that they will come together and bid for these opportunities.”

Among the international donors listed in the report who are funding the infrastructure and engineering projects in Africa are the European Union, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Publicly-funded projects are listed for Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Press Office
16 September 2012

Notes for Editor:

The Report was prepared by Schuman Associates as part of the Winning Business in Africa initiative, a joint initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and IBEC’s Engineering sector, the Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation.

This report was co-funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation.

Schuman Associates is a Brussels-based, independent, consultancy with more than 20 years’ experience in European funding.

The full report can be found at www.ieef.ie/0/winningbusinessinafrica

For further information please contact Amanda Bane on 087-7788835.