Held annually since 2011, the Africa Ireland Economic Forum (AIEF) is co-hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the African Diplomatic Corps in Ireland. The AIEF provides a key networking opportunity for Irish business and African delegates to identify areas for mutually beneficial trade and investment.
The Africa Strategy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was launched in 2011 and brings together the economic, political and development aspects of Ireland’s relations with Africa. The Africa Ireland Economic Forum has been a key element of the roll-out of the Strategy.
Keynote speakers to date have included the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as representatives of African and Irish businesses, business development organisations, national governments and regional organisations. The past three years have seen a growing level of interest in the AIEF. In 2013, the forum programme was extended from a one-day event to cover activities over a three-day period for visiting delegations. Over 200 Irish companies were represented, as well as delegations from 23 African countries.
AIEF 4 will be held from October 29 to 31. The theme of this year’s forum will be ‘Transformation through Technology’. The main plenary session will take place on the morning of October 30, convened by the Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Mr Sean Sherlock T.D. Other speakers will include representatives from African business and regional organisations and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charles Flanagan T.D., will give a keynote address.
On the afternoon of October 30, panel discussions will take place in three special sessions on:Agribusiness, Construction & Infrastructure and Managing Trade & Aid – Challenges & Opportunities. They will be joined by successful business people from across these sectors in Africa and Ireland. The closing plenary will be addressed by the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Ireland and further networking opportunities will follow during the closing reception.