Enterprise Ireland held a seminar and networking event 11th June 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. The seminar focused on East Africa as one of the fastest growing regions of Sub Sahara Africa, which has growing middle class currently estimated at 10%. It’s in this region that three of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are based.
The aim of the seminar was to give Irish companies an overview of the market opportunities in East Africa, provide practical information regarding the mechanics of exporting to the region, review how to partner with East Africa based companies and to focus on the sectors that are most attractive for Irish exports.
After the seminar, the companies were expected to give views on whether it’s a suitable market for them and how to progress it to the next stage with support from Enterprise Ireland.
“Africa will not be developed by foreign aid alone, but by doing business with a social conscious which create sustainable impact.” Dr. Ian Clarke – Chairman International Medical Group & Clarke Group Limited.
Dr. Ian Clarke however, noted that, there should be ready opportunities in education and training since 400,000 graduates travel from Africa to the rest of the world for education. Additionally,
Kenya, Botswana and South Africa have the highest financial inclusion in Africa, but the rest of Africa is improving because of good technology.
Dr. Amit Thakker – Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation, presented opportunities for the Irish private sector in East Africa. He informed the attendees that the Irish population is 10% of the Kenyan population yet $18 billion is spent on healthcare in a year in Ireland, compared to the $3 billion spent on healthcare annually in Kenya. In terms of spending per capita, Kenya spends $70 per person on healthcare whereas Ireland spends $3800 per person. Therefore, Irish companies would have to tailor their services and products to the needs of the East Africa in terms of balancing quality with affordability in order to penetrate the East African markets effectively.
Dr. Thakker highlighted some opportunities for the private sector, based on their financial viability and the size of potential deals. These opportinuties include: service delivery and diagnostics, human resources for health training, information and communication technology, enablers, health financing ,pharmaceuticals and medical devices & equipment.
There was a consensus reached that success requires, a real commitment of time and resources inorder to form meaningful partnership or entice the right stakeholders.
The seminar was well attended with the key presenters including: Ms. Angela Ndambuki – CEO Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Ian Clarke – Chairman International Medical Group & Clarke Group Limited, Mr. Samuel Makome – chief operations officer, Kenya Commercial Bank, Dr. Amit Thakker, Chairman Kenya Healthcare Federation, Mr. George Mokogi managing –Director- carrier services division – Telkom Kenya Limited and Mr. Stanley Muia – senior program manager of commercial & business strategy – Adrian Kenya Limited.