Minister Costello visits Mozambique to develop trade opportunities and see the impact of Irish Aid
DUBLIN, Ireland, March 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., will seek to strengthen economic links between Ireland and Mozambique when he visits the southern African country today (Sunday March 17th).
Minister Costello will hold discussions on trade and investment with members of the Irish business community in Mozambique, including companies working in the natural resources sector. He will also explore opportunities for Irish agri-business during discussions with the Ministers for Industry and Commerce and Agriculture.
As part of Ireland's EU Presidency, Minister Costello will chair the EU-Southern African Development Community Political Dialogue on March 20, where he will lead discussions on the political situation in Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo among other issues.
During his visit, Minister Costello will also visit health clinics, training centres and small enterprises which have benefitted from Irish Aid support.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Minister Costello said:
“Mozambique has come a long way since the dark days of the civil war in the 1970s and 1980s which cost hundreds of thousands of lives and led to the collapse of social and economic infrastructure. Today, with the support of donors including Ireland, Mozambique is making real progress.
“During my visit I will meet leading business people to discuss opportunities for bilateral trade and investment which would benefit both countries. Ireland is already a strong investor in Mozambique. The country's strong economic performance opens up opportunities to greatly expand our existing links.
“The economy is growing at approximately 7% per year and the country is on the cusp of a resource boom, which, if properly managed, could see Mozambique exit aid dependency within 15 years. However, they are starting from a very low base - more than 50% of Mozambicans survive on less than $0.50 per day.
“Ireland's development programme in Mozambique is focused on improving access to primary education, tackling HIV and AIDS, improving public services and enhancing the capacity of the private sector to provide jobs and economic opportunities.
“Our aid is working: In Mozambique, more than 66,000 pregnant women have received treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The number of children attending school has grown from 400,000 pupils in 1992 to almost 7 million within just 15 years. There is now a 100% enrolment of children in primary school, which will have a transformative effect on Mozambique in the years ahead. ”
Minister Costello said the Government was looking to the future when countries like Mozambique would become even more significant markets and trading partners for Ireland.
“As part of our Africa Strategy, the Government is committed to increasing sustainable trade and investment which will benefit both Ireland and Africa. It is only through growing two-way trade that African countries can reduce their dependence on aid. I would encourage all Irish companies to look to the potential of the African market.”
Minister Costello will also participate in St Patrick's Day events in Maputo.