Ibec today announced details of a joint programme with the Department of Foreign Affairs to help Irish companies compete with other European businesses for billions of European Development Funds (EDF) earmarked for projects up to 2020.
The Winning Business in Africa programme is an online one-stop-shop for companies providing the information and support needed to bid on over 200 projects in Sub-Saharan countries worth €7bn.
The database is backed up with advice and support, from funding experts Schuman Associates, for companies that want to access these contracts.
Irish export trade with Africa has decreased in recent years, and now stands at €1.32bn, but there is now further opportunity to drive growth.
Sub-Saharan countries experienced 3.8% growth last year and Winning Business in Africa is strategically focused on key growth sectors critical for economic development.
There are currently over 200 projects businesses can get involved in across the sectors of infrastructure and engineering, agriculture, and ICT.
Mary Rose Burke, director of Corporate, Strategic and International Affairs, Ibec, said: “Africa is not an easy market to tap into, but these EDF contracts offer low-risk entry with pre-approved funding. A number of companies have had success in Africa and we are now encouraging more companies to bid on these projects.”
Mark McAuley, director of the Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation, commented: “Irish company, PM Group, recently gained approval to work with the Ministry of Health in Zambia on a €2.5m project to assist the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority to ensure quality control. Some Irish companies may be too small to bid for these projects, but there is a chance now for partnering-up, networking and cooperation with other companies. Irish companies who register will get early notice of new contracts, making it easier for them to expand across key sectors such as engineering where there is a €3.7 billion fund available.”
Minister of State at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for Development, Trade Promotion and North South co-operation, Sean Sherlock, added: “Supporting Irish companies pursue trade and investment opportunities in Africa has been a priority for our engagement with Africa, particularly since the launch of our Africa Strategy in 2011. The Winning Business in Africa II project is already bearing fruit and shows that these opportunities can be realised and have real outcomes for Irish businesses.”