An Enterprise Ireland trade mission of 37 Irish companies to South Africa just under way is aiming to drive further expansion of Irish firms’ exports to this market and build on the growth achieved last year.
Enterprise Ireland client companies increased their sales in South Africa by 29pc to more than €100m in 2011, and a similar level of growth is expected this year.
The trade mission, which is primarily focused on the ICT, international education and financial services sectors, is being led by Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, TD.
“Trade missions to key growth markets such as South Africa, which is identified as a priority market under the Government’s Trade Strategy, are of critical importance in building on existing links and opening new doors for increased exports and collaborative business ventures. They are our way of making sure that Irish companies are supported in every way to grow, increase their exports and, open new markets,” Costello said.
“Growth in trade and investment resulting from trade missions supports jobs in Ireland and is an important part of the Government’s Trade Strategy and Action Plan for Jobs.”
Land of opportunity
Enterprise Ireland’s head of International Sales and Partnering, Kevin Sherry, is accompanying Costello on the trip. He said the continuing growth in Irish exports into South Africa shows there are significant opportunities for increased trade and partnerships between Irish and South African companies.
“The market growth is in sectors where Enterprise Ireland’s client companies are particularly strong performers, including telecommunications, e-learning, financial services technology and life sciences,” said Sherry.
In February, Enterprise Ireland opened a new office in Johannesburg which acts as a hub for supporting Irish companies in growing their trade relationships and export sales in South Africa and across the Sub-Saharan region.
More than 180 Enterprise Ireland client companies are now exporting to South Africa, while 30 Irish companies have a presence on the ground, employing more than 13,000 people locally.
Following his visit to South Africa, Costello will travel to Ghana and Nigeria on trade-related visits.