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Minister Flanagan and Minister of State McHugh host event to mark Africa Day 2017

Minister Charles Flanagan, MoS Joe McHugh, Press Releases, Ireland, Africa, 2017

 

Minister Flanagan and Minister of State McHugh host event to mark Africa Day 2017

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D., today, 25th May, hosted a reception in Iveagh House to mark Africa Day 2017. In attendance were African diplomats, civil society and NGOs working in Africa, relevant companies working in the African context, Oireachtas members and the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group.

The Africa Day reception is a chance to highlight the scope and benefits of Ireland’s engagement with Africa. As well as raising awareness of the official overseas aid programme managed by Irish Aid and its central focus on sub-Saharan Africa, the celebration of Africa Day is an opportunity to consider the increasing breadth of bilateral trade and investment linkages between Ireland and African countries.

At today’s reception, Minister Flanagan said,

“Across Ireland, people from all backgrounds came together last weekend to celebrate the richness and diversity of the cultures of Africa, and the vibrant contribution the Africa diaspora on this island has made to our society.”

“Ireland’s relationship with Africa goes back to the nineteenth century, but more recently, our relationship has matured and broadened. It is no longer viewed primarily through the lens of the missions, of peace-keeping, or of our aid programme. The Africa Strategy adopted by the Government in 2011 sets out a holistic framework for the relationship, committing us to deepening our ties with the countries of Africa. Steady progress has been made since then, with eleven Irish Embassies now operating across the continent, and eight Embassies from African countries based in Ireland.”

“Trade and economic development represents an increasingly important dimension of this partnership. ‘Ireland Connected’, the strategy for trade and investment adopted by the Government in March, commits us to a deepened engagement with Africa. Ireland’s Embassies in Africa, together with our state agencies, Irish businesses and our partners in Africa, in the state and private sectors, will continue to work together to develop our economic relationship in order that all our citizens can enjoy the fruits of increased prosperity.”

Minister Flanagan also highlighted the growing importance of the EU-Africa relationship,

“2017 will be a defining year not just for relations between Ireland and Africa, but between Africa and the Europe. Later this year, Côte d’Ivoire will host the 5th EU-Africa Summit. It is increasingly clear that the future security and prosperity of Europe and Africa are fundamentally interdependent. “

Also speaking at the reception, Minister of State McHugh added,

“I am delighted to be here with you today to celebrate Africa Day.  Last year’s Africa Day reception was one of my first engagements as Minister of State for International Development, so it is a pleasure to be back with you again one year on with a little more knowledge of Africa.

“Since then, I have visited Uganda and Kenya, and witnessed first-hand some of the ways Ireland and these countries are working together – in business, in development and in promoting intercultural awareness.“

“I also serve as Minister of State for the Diaspora, and through this, have come to a renewed appreciation of the important role the diaspora plays in society. The African diaspora contributes so much to Ireland in terms of culture, business, music and broadening the horizons of our small island. In an ever more divided world, where certain groups are determined to divide people into an ‘us and them’, we must take every opportunity to celebrate the value of each other’s traditions and culture.”

 

ENDS

Press Office

25 May 2017

 

Notes for Editors