Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today highlighted how Africa is an increasingly attractive market for Irish agri-food companies seeking to diversify and insulate businesses from uncertainties presented by Brexit at an event, Winning Business in Africa: A strategic market for agri-food, held at Ibec’s Head Office in Dublin.
‘Winning Business in Africa’ is a joint programme operated by Ibec and the Department of Foreign Affairs to help Irish companies compete with other European businesses for billions of euros worth of European Development Funds (EDF) earmarked for projects up to 2020. The progamme is supported by funding experts Schuman Associates.
Ibec Director, Mark McAuley, said: “Africa is not an easy market to break into, but Winning Business in Africa is a one-stop-shop for companies with more than 461 projects worth in excess of €8.5 billion. The European Development Fund projects offer a low risk entry with pre-approved funding across key sectors including engineering, ICT and agriculture. As Ireland’s largest indigenous sector with 230,000 linked jobs and 40% export growth, we see the agri-food sector as leading the way in building Ireland’s trading relationship with Africa.
“As much as €3.4 billion from the EDF has already been committed since 2014 on agriculture, food security and environment projects, but only 30% of this has been contracted so there are huge opportunities for Irish companies to lead and partner on these projects.”
Dairy Industry Ireland Director, Conor Mulvihill, said: “More than a third of food and drink exports, worth €4.4 billion, go to the UK at present. As we plan for the future, and particularly with Brexit in mind, market diversification will be key to maintaining strong exports growth.
“The dairy sector’s top markets are the UK, China, the Netherlands and the US, with exports increasing nearly 9% to €1.8 billion last year. The strength and expertise of the Irish agri-food and dairy sectors means that there is great potential for boosting exports to Africa. Last year, dairy exports alone to Africa were worth €203 million and we are optimistic about future growth potential.
“We are delighted to have business leaders like LacPatrick CEO, Gabriel D'Arcy, with us to share his experience of growing business in Africa, and for companies to learn how the Winning Business in Africa portal can help them to gain a foothold in Africa.”
Companies can register online for Winning Business in Africa by visiting http://www.wbia.ie.