On December 9th, Irish Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello accompanied VAA to the Kiboko Garment Factoy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The following day, Minister Costello launched the VAA-Strathmore Networking Event in Strathmore Business School, Nairobi, Kenya.
Below Press Release issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs:
Minister Costello in Kenya to promote East Africa trade links
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, T.D., is visiting Kenya this week to examine the increasing opportunities for Irish companies in the East African market.
During the visit, the Minister will host a business breakfast in Nairobi for Kenyan and Irish business contacts where he will announce plans to develop the existing Nairobi-based business network to strengthen trade links.
Speaking from Nairobi, Minister Costello said:
"This visit will help us to identify which sectors have the greatest potential for Irish companies in Kenya and the wider East Africa region, where economic growth is more than 6% per year.
On the recent trade mission I led to South Africa and Nigeria, Irish companies secured new contracts totalling over €7m in the financial services, telecommunications and education sectors. I believe the East African market has simllar potential for Irish companies and I would hope that there will be a trade mission within the next year to help open these markets to Irish companies who are prepared to explore that potential".
The visit is part of the Government's Africa Strategy, which stresses the need to think beyond aid and to develop stronger political and economic links with African nations. Kenya was identified as a priority country in East Africa under the Africa Strategy, given its potential for growth and its position as a gateway for the East Africa region.
Minister Costello said:
"The only long-term solution to poverty reduction for Africa is sustained economic growth leading to increased employment and trade. Increasing two-way trade benefits Ireland and our African partners.
Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has grown by over 200% in the last decade. This Government wants to ensure that Irish companies benefit from new opportunities in Africa and that Ireland continues to support African countries to prosper".
During the visit, Minister Costello will also launch Value Added in Africa's event on international certifications. Value Added in Africa (VAA), with funding from Irish Aid, helps African producers to develop wholly African-finished products for export to European markets. VAA has also developed the 'Proudly Made In Africa' label to assure wholesale buyers of the quality of African processed goods.
Minister Costello said:
"Value Added in Africa does as the name says. It helps African business people add more value to their products in Africa so they can get a better price for their products. Ireland is proud to play a small part in helping African companies achieve their full potential".