Ireland is seeking to build lasting business partnership with Ghanaian companies so as to be part of the country’s future growth, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney has said.
Speaking to journalists after leading the largest trade mission from Ireland to West Africa for two decades, Mr Coveney said the idea of the mission was not simply to sell but build on the existing foothold in the sub-region.
“Our visit to Ghana is very important step in increasing ... relationship between the two countries,” he said.
The visit which involved 41 Irish companies, as well as senior delegates from Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland, covered Ghana and Nigeria.
The companies represented a variety of sectors including agri-food, education, information and communication technology, and financial services.
Mr Coveney said Ireland is looking beyond the most immediate economic challenges facing Ghana, saying it is temporary.
“There are challenges but the future looks more exciting and the Irish companies would want to be part of that,” he said.
Ireland currently exports 50 million Euros of agriculture produce and dairy products into Ghana.
Mr Coveney said Ghana presents opportunity because of the stable economy, high standard of education and the population making it an attractive market for transfer of technology knowhow in the field of finance and agriculture.
He said the Irish government is committed to building a stronger and more vibrant relationship with West Africa initially focusing on Ghana and Nigeria.
“I have seen the relationship between Ireland and Nigeria and Ghana go from strength to strength,” he said, adding that the relationship continue to widen through political visits, trade and educational and tourism links, increased cultural exchanges and growing contacts.
There has been substantial increase in trade and investment between Ireland and Nigeria and Ghana. Total exports to Ghana and Nigeria reached more than 375 million Euros in 2014.
The Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon said the trade mission was about helping Irish companies to optimise on the opportunity that exists, adding that the ambition is to reach export sales of 600 million Euros to the region by 2018.
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