Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development Leads Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission to South Africa

On Sunday 10 November 2012, Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, will lead an Enterprise Ireland trade mission with 37 companies to South Africa.

The trade mission is being organised by Irish trade and technology agency, Enterprise Ireland in close cooperation with Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassy of Ireland in Johannesburg.

It is aimed at cementing the growing trade relations between the two countries and is part of a broad, long term strategy to further develop Irish trade links and partnerships not just in the South African market, but in the wider Sub-Saharan region.

Last year Irish exports to South Africa increased to €944m and exports for 2012 are expected to continue this momentum. South Africa exports to Ireland in 2011 were €302, bringing total bilateral trade to approximately €1.2bm.

This visit underlines the key strategic importance of the South African market for Irish companies seeking to increase trade with the region and recognises South Africa as the economic hub and regional economic powerhouse in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the gateway for access to this market.

In February of this year, Enterprise Ireland opened an office in Johannesburg to act as the hub for supporting Irish companies in growing existing trade relationships, developing new ones and increasing trade right across South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Over 180 Enterprise Ireland clients are now exporting to South Africa, and a substantial number have built a local presence, with 30 Irish companies with local subsidiaries employing over 13,000 people. Companies working with Enterprise Ireland increased their sales in South Africa by 29% last year, to over €100 million. Among other objectives, this trade mission aims to build on this growth.

Speaking before his departure Minister Costello said: ”Enterprise Ireland’s trade mission to the key growth market of South Africa is of critical importance in building on existing links and opening new doors for increased export business and collaborative business ventures that will lead to economic growth and job creation for both countries.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Head of International Sales and Partnering, Kevin Sherry, who is accompanying Minister Costello on the trip, said: ”This trade mission is a very timely and exciting opportunity for Irish companies seeking to expand their business and business partnerships in South Africa and the wider Sub-Saharan region. This market is growing at a tremendous rate and offers enormous potential for ambitious Irish companies.

”The continuing growth in Irish exports into South Africa shows clearly that there are significant opportunities for increased trade and partnerships between Irish and South African companies. There has been particularly significant growth in sectors where Enterprise Ireland’s client companies are strong performers, including telecoms, eLearning, financial services technology and pharmaceutical, medical devices and life sciences. We are confident that further growth and business successes will result from this trade mission.”

Minister Costello’s schedule during the visit includes a series of meetings in Johannesburg and Cape Town with Irish companies and their South African partners and customers, and events to promote the capabilities and strengths of Irish companies in key sectors.

The sectors represented by Irish companies participating in the trade mission, include: telecommunications; financial software and services; construction and engineering; education; e-learning and training; beverages; plastics; waste water management; traffic management products; publishing; and pharmaceutical products.

Also included among the Minister’s stops will be a visit to the Irish Pavilion at the Africacom telecommunications conference and expo on the morning of 14 November, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The four Irish companies exhibiting at the pavilion are:

i-conX Solutions, an interconnect billing and routing solutions vendor;
FCS Global (Flexible Contact Solutions), a global communications company that provides voice, data and networking solutions to small, medium and large corporate clients;
Escher Group, a provider of retail and message-based software solutions and services; and
The Now Factory, a company providing Communication Service Providers (CSPs) with customer experience solutions to ensure network profitability and drive service innovation.

During the mission two industry panels will be announced which will bring together the Irish technology expertise and the key South African companies in the areas of Telco and Financial Services Technology

This latest trade mission further demonstrates Ireland’s firm commitment to building on the existing strong levels of bilateral trade between Ireland and South Africa.

Enterprise Ireland is the Government agency responsible for the development and internationalisation of Irish enterprises. Its main aim is to boost exports and the creation of export-led jobs. Enterprise Ireland has 28 offices worldwide, including one in Johannesburg, South Africa, to help Irish firms develop overseas markets.

Each year, Enterprise Ireland organises a series of targeted international trade missions, market visits, participation in international trade fairs and a large number of international buyer visits to Ireland focussed on assisting Irish firms target and secure international contracts and overseas partners. Here, Enterprise Ireland works directly with Irish firms to help them start up, develop their businesses, build competitiveness and innovate.

Enterprise Ireland – South Africa

South Africa, with a population of 48 million, and access to the 900 million Sub-Saharan African market, has experienced over 17 years of uninterrupted growth. It is the main economy in Sub-‘Saharan Africa accounting for 30% of total GDP, and is seen as the ‘Gateway to the Region with many South African companies trading on a cross-border basis. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) accounts for 90% of the total value of all publicly listed companies in Sub-Sahara Region.

In recognition of the opportunities in South Africa for our clients, Enterprise Ireland opened its first office in Sub-Sahara Africa in South Africa ín 2011, in Johannesburg. Through this office, Enterprise Ireland provides a comprehensive service to clients seeking to increase their business in South Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa, including full research and partnering services. As part of the Enterprise Ireland strategy a number of growth sectors have been identified for particular focus, including telecoms, financial services technology, eLearning and pharmaceutical/medical devises/life sciences.

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