Geoscience Ireland Africa Forum offers opportunities for Ireland
04 February 2014
At the recent Africa Forum in Dublin, Geoscience Ireland (GI) members heard of exciting opportunities for Irish geological, geotechnical and engineering consultancies in Africa.
African economic growth has been consistently impressive in recent years, reporting annual growth rates of over 8.5% since 2000 and exceeding the more usual emerging market BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Sectors with the highest growth potential are mining and metals; agriculture; oil and gas; and infrastructure.
Minister of State for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, welcomed the on-going progress of Geoscience Ireland in bringing together Irish geoscience, engineering and environmental expertise to better enable them to achieve the scale in seeking to achieve oversees growth. O’Dowd described the business breakfast and investment summit in UCD on 17 January as “a further opportunity for key players to deepen and expand engagement with Africa”.
Commenting on the Forum, GI chair Koen Verbruggen said that GI members had “a long and distinguished track record in Africa and [are] well positioned to supply growing needs in natural resources and infrastructure development by providing design capabilities in mineral exploration, geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences and water services”. GI members with extensive project experience in both Sub Saharan and North Africa include Nicholas O Dwyer, JB Barry and Partners, APEX Geophysics, and Byrne Looby and Partners. GI members currently developing contracts in Africa are Verde and Meehan Drilling.
GI members provide services primarily to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the UN. A growing area of business is supplying services to Irish companies in Africa and the Forum heard of expansion plans for Africa from several Irish companies e.g. Tullow Oil, Public Works, PM Group, Petroceltic and ESBI. The Private Infrastructure Development Group was also represented.
Ireland’s Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Patrick Fay (also accredited to Chad, Ghana, Liberia and Senegal), outlined best practice in dealing with business issues in West Africa. The Finance Commissioner for Delta State of Nigeria, Ken Okpara, outlined economic and environmental policy issues effecting development in Nigeria.
Enterprise Ireland’s Kelly Spillane outlined its expansion plans for Africa, supplementing existing offices in South Africa with offices in Nigeria and via trade missions and market study visits to target markets.
Supported by the Geological Survey of Ireland (Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources) and Enterprise Ireland, Geoscience Ireland is a business cluster of 20 companies employing over 1,100 persons with a turnover of c. € 150 million. GI’s objective is to develop business in overseas markets for geological, hydrogeological, geotechnical, environmental and water engineering consultancies and contractors. See www.geoscience.ie for further details.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/02/04/geoscience-ireland-africa-forum-offers-opportunities-for-ireland/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Africa-1024x681.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Africa-300x300.jpgNewsGeoscience Ireland