Local knowledge key to Ireland’s opportunities in African markets – IEA’s Africa Business Forum
Sharing local knowledge and business networks will be key to advancing Irish trade with Africa, according to the Irish Exporters Association’s Africa Business Forum.
Addressing a meeting of the Forum hosted by PwC in the IFSC this morning, Tim Morgan, chairman of the group, highlighted the need for on-the-ground market intelligence for companies seeking to develop trade in the lucrative but challenging developing economies in Africa.
“Africa is the last of the emerging markets that has yet to be tackled,” he said. “It can be a daunting prospect for an Irish exporter given the vastness of the continent and the variance in terms of levels of economic development within, and amongst, different African nations.”
He noted, however, that a number of Irish companies have established a strong presence on the continent, including QK Meats, ESBI, Irish Dairy Board, Glanbia and Diageo.
“Local knowledge and local partners are vital to succeed in these markets. It is imperative to visit the market and develop your local network through diplomatic contacts offered by the embassy network, through Enterprise Ireland, and through trusted professional services such as PwC.
“Ireland’s long standing connection through aid and missionary work has established excellent relationships in Africa which, combined with our global reputation of producing quality goods and services, leads to export opportunities across a range of sectors including food and drink, technology, and infrastructure This legacy, along with the development of a strong middle class in some of the bigger African markets like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana means real and current opportunities for Irish exporters.”
According to Morgan, Ireland is highly regarded throughout Africa and is strengthening its reputation for high quality products in areas such as energy, engineering, mining, telecommunications, agriculture, and food and drink.
“The purpose of the Africa Business Forum is to help companies access the opportunities in Africa by sharing experience, knowledge and business networks,” he said.
Launching PwC’s Africa 2014 CEO Survey at the forum, Ronan MacNioclais, PwC’s Irish partner for business with Africa, said: “With Africa now boasting seven out of the ten fastest growing global economies and impressive figures including its population of over one billion – the youngest in the world – it is easy to see why investors worldwide now look towards Africa as the future.
“And with this shift in focus Irish CEOs are now also focusing on the potential, scale and opportunity for growth that Africa has to offer with 13pc looking to target the continent in the next year.”