Geoscience Ireland Africa Forum

Jan 31, 2014

At the Africa Forum held in Dublin on 16 January, 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. 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, T.D., 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. The Minister described the business breakfast and investment summit in UCD as "a further opportunity for key players to deepen and expand engagement with Africa".

Commenting on the Forum, GI Chairman Koen Verbruggen said "GI members have 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 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 today’s 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- PIDG- 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 Mr Ken Okpara outlined economic and environmental policy issues effecting development in Nigeria.

Enterprise Ireland’s Kelly Spillane outlined their 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.