Ireland hunts for ICT deals in SA

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 11 Nov 2019

The Irish government, through Enterprise Ireland – a government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets – is looking to make ICT investments in SA.

This week, an Irish delegation is in SA and Kenya on a trade mission as part of the Irish government’s efforts to increase exports in line with its trade strategy.

The delegation is led by Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for business, enterprise and innovation.

Enterprise Ireland says this will be key to the Irish government’s department of foreign affairs and trade’s Africa strategy, which aims to further develop trade links and increase Irish exports to SA and Kenya, respectively.

A series of high-level meetings will serve to bolster productive political and diplomatic relations necessary for moving forward on the various trade, investment and commercial agendas.

According to Enterprise Ireland, Humphreys is set to meet with ambassador of Ireland to SA, Fionnuala Gilsenan, before meeting with Nadya Bhettay, chief operating officer for ventures and partnerships at Vodacom, among others.

This morning Humphreys tweeted: “Very useful engagement at our networking breakfast in Johannesburg – lots of opportunities for Irish and South African companies to do business.”

Humphreys notes she is leading a trade mission “of 42 cutting-edge companies and organisations and look forward to a productive programme of meetings and hopefully contract signings”.

Fred Klinkenberg, Enterprise Ireland’s SA country manager, told ITWeb via e-mail that: “We are the second largest exporter of ICT in the world and can bring a wide array of technology to SA, ranging from artificial intelligence, Internet of things, telecommunications, fintech and travel technology.”

The Irish visit comes after SA hosted an investment conference in Johannesburg last week, where the country attracted hundreds of billions of rands in investments.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is looking to unlock R1.2 trillion in investment over the next five years.

Enterprise Ireland entered the South African market in 2012 and ever since, companies in SA and Ireland have forged some key IT business deals.

At the time, Jan O'Sullivan, Ireland’s minister of trade and development, said Ireland plans to bring high-quality technological products to the South African market, and will also focus on premium education through promoting research and development.

Klinkenberg says the trade mission is looking to make both SA and Ireland more aware of the commercial opportunities that exist between the two countries, especially in technology.