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MoS Ciarán Cannon, TD., Closing Remarks at the Africa Ireland Economic Forum

Cabinet Secretary Munya, Vice President Boamah, Ambassadors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my privilege to be here this afternoon to bring the Africa Ireland Economic Forum 2018 to a close. I am very impressed by the buzz and enthusiasm which is still evident in the room, even at the end of a long and busy day.

I believe that networking has been busy, intensive and purposeful with the Whoova app getting everyone connected in a modern and efficient manner.

I just stepped in as the last panel was reviewing ideas on new forms of support for the private sector in Africa. I believe that we can and should do more to support Irish businesses in growing their market share and encourage them to invest. We are all agreed that Africa needs more and better jobs in the coming decades and I want Ireland to be part of that transformation.

I also want to commend officials from both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the innovative work in supporting Irish and African business partnerships. There is great potential in this regard, especially at time when Ireland is expanding its Embassy network in Africa and growing the development cooperation budget.

I believe the women in business panel threw up lots of interesting and challenging ideas on how to support female entrepreneurs and I look forward to seeing an uptick in the number of women CEOs from Ireland and Africa connecting and developing businesses in the future.

In closing, I wish to thank the team from my own Department for the organisation and imagination which made this Forum possible. I now wish to invite you all to a closing reception in the EPIC Museum where we can continue the conversations from today.

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