Shift in focus for Irish Aid strategy

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011

Éanna Ó Caollaí

The development of new economic and political ties with Africa is to form part of the Government’s new overseas aid strategy.

Speaking at the launch of a lecture series on overseas development in Dublin this afternoon, Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O'Sullivan said the long-term goal is to end dependency on aid and to build new economic and political relationships with countries in Africa.

Ms O'Sullivan said the new strategy recognises the economic transformation that is taking place in some African countries.

"Larger African economies, such as South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, have averaged growth rates consistently above 5 per cent since the year 2000. However, at the same time, we recognise that poverty and hunger will continue to be huge problems in many parts of Africa.”

Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development aid programme, will continue to treat poverty and hunger as a priority but will also emphasise new relationships “based on politics, democracy and trade”, Ms O’Sullivan said.

“It is right that we do so, and it is also in our interests as a country.”

Ms O’Sullivan was speaking at the launch of ’Development Matters’, a lecture series co-sponsored by Irish Aid and the Institute of International and European Affairs.

Keynote speaker, Prof Mthuli Ncube, chief economist of the African Development Bank delivered the inaugural address: "African Economic Policy and the Role of Private Business".

Prof Mthuli outlined how nations can build on strong growth and improved regulation and infrastructure to leverage private sector investment and philanthropy for more inclusive growth.

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