Irish companies could make about ?12 billion worth of potential business in 11 African economies including Ghana, a new report has identified.

The said opportunities for Irish companies are in four key sectors of the African economy namely energy and renewable energy; infrastructure; water and mining.

Launched by Ireland?s Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello September 17, 2012, the report, details more than 100 publicly-funded projects in 11 African countries which are due to come on-stream in the next five years with a combined value of ?12 billion.

Publicly-funded projects are listed for Ghana, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Titled ?Winning Business in Africa ? Building a Cluster for Infrastructure Projects?, the report was prepared as part of the Winning Business in Africa programme, a joint initiative between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and IBEC?s Engineering sector, the Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation, which is designed to increase opportunities for Irish companies in the African market.

The report is to give the country?s companies information as to how they can bid for these opportunities presented by the African continent.

?Africa is a dynamic continent, where growth rates in many countries reached 7% over the last five years. Irish companies are very well placed to meet the exponential growth in demand for goods and services across the continent,? Mr Costello said at the launch.

According to the Minister, Irish companies are eligible to bid for more than 100 large-scale public programmes identified in the report, which will prove a ?vital resource in clarifying the opportunities which exist and the steps which must be taken to position our indigenous companies to successfully enter this important market?.

On how to implement the report?s recommendation, Joe Costello said ?The Irish Embassy network across Africa will support Irish businesses to follow up on the recommendations in this report. Across Africa, our Ambassadors are working closely with the private sector to establish Irish Business Associations which can support new entrants to the local market.?

Explaining the goal of the report, Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation Chair, Gerry Donovan (BOC Gases) said ?The goal is to develop a pipeline of addressable projects for Irish-based engineering companies involved in these business clusters. The projects include emerging opportunities early in the project cycle: over 50% of the project and funding identified by the report are at an early stage of the cycle and hence the key stage for entry; an opportune time for members to incorporate this information into their business development plans.?

Among the international donors listed in the report who are funding the infrastructure and engineering projects in Africa are the European Union, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

By Ekow Quandzie

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