Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development leads third Irish trade mission to South Africa in major drive for continued growth in bilateral trade

On the back of growing trade between Ireland and South Africa, Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, will lead the third Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa in November.

The trade mission, arranged by the 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 Pretoria, will take place from 11 – 12 November. The mission, aimed at cementing trade ties and growing partnerships in South Africa, is timed to coincide with the Africa Com expo at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from 12 – 14 November, where Enterprise Ireland will host an Ireland Pavilion of 6 companies for the second consecutive year.

With bilateral trade between Ireland and South Africa passing €1,189 million in 2012, the trade mission aims to meet business and potential partners both from South Africa and across the sub-Saharan African region. Over 180 Enterprise Ireland clients currently export products and services to South Africa, and over 30 Irish companies have established a local presence, employing over 13,000 people. Underlining the importance Ireland places on Southern Africa as a trade destination, Minister Costello will officially open Enterprise Ireland’s new office in Johannesburg, to support Irish companies in growing trade relationships and partnerships in the region.

37 Irish companies will participate in the trade mission, representing key industry sectors where Irish companies are strong performers, including telecommunications, eLearning, financial services technology and pharmaceutical, medical devices and life sciences.

Minister Costello has noted that Ireland’s trade missions to the key growth market of South Africa are of critical importance in building on existing links and opening new doors for increased export business and collaborative business partnerships that will lead to economic growth for both countries.

Last year, key Irish exports to South Africa included ICTs, medical and pharmaceutical products, industrial machinery and equipment, chemical materials and products, spirits, beer and cider and other beverages and food products. Ireland’s top imports from South Africa last year included vegetables and fruit, pulp and waste paper, metal manufacture, road vehicles, organic and inorganic chemicals, crude fertilisers and minerals and plastics in primary forms.

Ireland’s ICT strengths

Ahead of its participation in Africa Com, Enterprise Ireland has highlighted Ireland’s strengths in the telecommunications, software, financial services software, services and business process outsourcing arenas in particular. In 2012, Enterprise Ireland’s cohort of software clients accounted for €1.72 billion in revenues, of which €1.03 billion (60%) was represented by exports. Ireland’s indigenous software sector comprises approximately 600 companies producing software across a wide spectrum of applications, including enterprise, financial services, telecoms, IT for Health, eLearning and digital content. Enterprise Ireland’s financial services and software clients achieved sales of over €700 million, with exports of over €500 million last year alone. Enterprise Ireland notes that the software and services ecosystem in Ireland is exceptional by international standards, featuring research facilities at each level of the R&D spectrum.

In the telecommunications space, Ireland has around 300 small and medium sized telecommunications and mobile solution providers who sell worldwide. Enterprise Ireland says this sector is characterised by technical capability, agility, and highly experienced management teams. Telecommunications related exports from Enterprise Ireland clients to Africa have grown by approximately 50% between 2009 and 2012 to about €15 million.

The Enterprise Ireland pavilion at Africa Com aims to showcase Ireland’s capabilities in the ICT space, and expand business partnerships with the South African ICT sector.

For further information contact Enterprise Ireland at Tel: + 27 (0) 11 5505440 or visit

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