Developing regional trade opportunities for African businesses can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and lift millions of people out of extreme poverty, Gorta-Self Help Africa CEO Ray Jordan said this week.
The decision of Irish trade development NGO Traidlinks to join the Gorta-Self Help Africa group would further strengthen the organisation in its efforts to create more such opportunities for African agricultural producers, he stated.
Traidlinks has supported over 120 export-orientated businesses across the region in the decade and a half since it was founded. In 2016 alone,Traidlinks collaborated with the Rwanda Development Board and jointly facilitated over 20 Rwandan companies to achieve nearly US$1m export sales value in regional markets.
Meanwhile, in the past decade Gorta-Self Help Africa has developed an extensive enterprise development portfolio designed to support African farming communities to trade into new regional and international markets, and increase the profitability of their farm businesses. A subsidiary of the organisation, Partner Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, has become one of the leading providers of international ethical audits to international businesses in Africa.
The CEO of Gorta-Self Help Africa said that the expertise and track record in business facilitation that Traidlinks had established would allow the organisation to play a key role in facilitating new business opportunities in Africa in the years ahead.
“Business can and is making a real difference in building economies and reducing extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Rural poor communities need markets, they need jobs, and they need a fair price for their goods and services, and we believe that by working together we can play a vital role in facilitating that to happen,” he said.
Cork-businessman Maurice Healy, the outgoing chairman of Traidlinks, said that the merger and the complimentary skills of the two organisations would strengthen efforts to increase trade with East Africa. Mr Healy paid tribute the outgoing Directors of Traidlinks for their commitment to the organization over more than a decade.
The merger of Traidlinks and Gorta-Self Help Africa comes as the Irish government launches the latest phase of its Africa Agri-Food Development Programme (AADP), an initiative that has been created to support partnerships between Irish and African agri-food companies. A call for applications to AADP, which provides business grants of up to €250,000 to Irish companies, was made earlier this month.