Projects worth €12bn up for grabs

Irish companies will be able to compete for roughly €12bn in lucrative infrastructure projects that will be open for tender across Africa over the next five years, according to a new report released, entitled Winning Business in Africa — Building a Cluster for Infrastructure Projects.

The report, which was commissioned by Ibec’s Irish Engineering Enterprises Federation (IEEF) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, identifies over 100 projects worth up to €12bn in energy and renewable energy, infrastructure, water, and mining.

Speaking prior to the report launch, Joe Costello, the trade and development minister, said: “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.

“Winning Business in Africa is strategically focused on key African countries and the four sectors which are critical to economic development.

“The Irish embassy network across Africa will support Irish business to follow up on the recommendations of 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. This is very much in keeping with my department’s Africa strategy, which was launched last year.”

Irish exports of goods and services to Africa were valued at over €2.7bn in 2011, with the latest detailed CSO country figures on trade indicating growth of 7% in exports of goods during the first five months of 2012.

Also speaking about the initiative, Gerry Donovan, Chairman of the IEEF and BOC Gases said: “Africa is not an easy market and the business potential differs from country to country. In some cases, it will take time and patience to create and build business relationships. A number of Irish companies have experienced considerable success in Africa and we are now encouraging companies to join together in partnerships to bid for these projects,” he said.

“Some Irish-based companies may find it difficult to enter new markets due to their size and capacity for expansion. A collaborative approach to tendering would help smaller companies in particular enter these new markets.

“Over 50% of the projects and funding in the report are at an early stage of the project cycle: An opportune time for members to incorporate this information into their business development plans, find other companies with which to partner and bid for these projects.”

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