Minister of State Costello meets African Ambassadors in London to discuss trade opportunities22 February 2013
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, TD, will today meet Ambassadors and senior diplomatic representatives from 14 African countries in London to discuss trade opportunities between Ireland and Africa.
Minister Costello’s meeting with the African Ambassadors, who are accredited to Ireland, is designed to develop closer trade and political links with Africa, as outlined in the Government’s Africa Strategy.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Costello said:
“I have a particular interest in supporting trade and investment which can further Africa’s development. Aid has served the continent well: it has supported African countries to build democratic structures and more accountable government and to improve their basic health, education and sanitation services. There are still long term needs for aid in many countries, especially fragile states.
“But my department also recognises the great potential of Africa, where economic growth rates in many countries reached 7% over the last five years. Like Ireland, African countries identify job creation, foreign direct investment, private sector development and trade as the drivers of sustainable development.
“This represents a great opportunity for us to build on 40 years of development cooperation work and move towards a relationship with African countries which incorporates sustainable two-way trade and investment flows.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa Strategy sets out how Ireland can engage with Africa in a more coherent fashion – economically, politically and through our Development Aid programme. Working with Enterprise Ireland and other state agencies, we are researching markets in Africa to identify matches between Irish competencies and African demand.
“Trade in Africa is about moving beyond aid dependency. It is about bringing in new investors - including Irish investors - to Africa to generate economic growth. Over time, Africa with its growing middle class will become a more important market for Irish exports. Mutually beneficial trade is a win-win for Africa and for Ireland.”
Minister Costello met the seven resident African Ambassadors in Dublin last month as part of a strategic engagement to increase trade, political and economic links.
While in London today, Minister Costello will also meet Enterprise Ireland to discuss trade between Ireland and Britain.