The promotion of stronger bilateral trade and investment remains one of the objectives of the Africa Strategy. This recognises the demand in Africa for goods and services in many of the fastest growing economies in the world. Irish companies engaged in telecommunications and financial services are helping connect people and business as well as improving transparency and accountability.
New technologies are making a major impact on governance in many markets. Electronic systems eliminate the need for cash payments and related opportunities for rent seeking. In addition to the provision of services, Irish companies that invest in African markets can provide much needed employment. The creation of decent jobs for men and women is one of the most important ways to redistribute wealth and reduce poverty in a rapidly growing economy.
In terms of employment, I have used the figures of 13,000 jobs in South Africa and 15,000 in West Africa. These are the best estimates available based on the trade visits to both markets in 2012. As my Department does not retain information on Irish companies or the markets in which they work, these figures are most likely underestimates.
During 2013, my Department will host a number of events to further enhance economic relations with Africa. In November, I will lead an Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission to both South Africa and Nigeria with a view to further stimulating bilateral trade and investment.