The Challenges and Opportunities Presented by Trade Partnerships between Africa and Ireland

SPIRe’s Prof. Patrick Paul Walsh examines “The Challenges and Opportunities Presented by Trade Partnerships between Africa and Ireland″ in a forthcoming paper with co-author Susan Murphy of Trinity College Dublin.


In this paper we examine the challenges and opportunities generated by Ireland’s strategic approach to trade as an instrument for international development, as outlined in its policy documents One World One Future – Ireland’s Policy for International Development (2013), and The Africa Strategy (2011). The policy seeks to move away from the traditional basis of aid, towards two-way trade and investment links with targeted African partners that can produce mutual benefits for Ireland and key partner countries. The policy advocates the use of a ‘whole of government’ approach with the dual objectives of promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and protecting the most vulnerable populations in key partner countries.  Through an analysis of the Irish economic development model, we outline the policies and institutions that were required at the nation state level to attract capital investment in export platforms, to ensure the benefits were appropriated and distributed to the general population, and the basic rights of the population were protected. We argue that technical support to key partner countries is required to support the development of such institutional structures as Ireland embarks on two-way trade and investment, and diverts ODA to Private and Public Partnerships that invest in African nation states. Such institutions are also necessary to protect African nation states from undesirable outcomes from EU and Africa Economic Partnerships.

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