• Exports by Irish companies increased by 18% in the Middle East, Africa and India to record high of €1.45bn with the FinTech, Aviation and MedTech sectors leading in export sales.  
  • Gulf region is a major growth market for Ireland, with increasing number of exports to United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: New record figures show exports to the Middle East from Ireland continue to rise substantially across most sectors. The data released by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government's trade and innovation agency, show exports by companies it supports increase by 18% to a record €1.45bn last year to the India, Middle East and Africa wider region.

The latest statistics add to the record year seen for Enterprise Ireland globally, with 2021 being the highest ever level of growth for Enterprise Ireland-backed companies in export value – up 12% and valued at €27.29bn last year.

Conor Fahy, Regional Director for the Middle East, India and Africa at Enterprise Ireland, welcomed the strong results by saying, "Demand for Irish innovation is at an all-time high across the wider region and has been accelerating year-on-year. We have experienced a real appetite for innovation from businesses and governments as we emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, with Irish companies meeting the needs of local partners.”

"In our priority markets in the Middle East which have received ministerial visits and trade missions, we continued to see strong growth in exports with Saudi Arabia increasing by 13 per cent year on year, UAE by 7 per cent, and Qatar up 16 per cent. We are also experiencing greater interest by Irish companies seeking to broaden their international export markets and are increasingly looking towards the Middle East as part of their market diversification and growth plans." 

Growth in Demand for Irish Innovation

Irish companies enjoy success in the marketplace, with local partners valuing Irish innovation across various sectors. Strong export figures were seen across all sectors, including FinTech, Aviation, and MedTech marking the highest ever level of growth for Enterprise-Ireland backed companies such as daa International, Aerogen and Hanley Energy.

Middle East: An Important Region for Irish Growth

With the Middle East being a key growth market for Irish businesses, more and more Irish companies are looking to expand their presence in the region. Currently, Enterprise Ireland supports over 400 Irish companies exporting or looking to export in the Middle East region.

Signifying the region's importance to both Ireland and Irish businesses, a series of ministerial visits and trade missions were made last year to further boost business ties in the key markets of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar.

Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar TD visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year along with Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland. The trade mission aimed to boost trade collaboration by supporting Irish companies to access export and partnership opportunities with the GCC, establish strategic connections with local partners, and reinforce existing relations.

Enterprise Ireland-backed companies such as daa International are making a great impact in the region. daa International offers an array of airport operational management services globally, including operating Terminal 5 at King Khalid Airport in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Recently, daa international won a multimillion-euro contract to manage the Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia for the next five years.

The company was also awarded the contract for Red Sea Development Company, the developer of the Red Sea Project, a unique and luxury tourism destination in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an MoU with Enterprise Ireland to bring Irish innovation and best practices to Dubai's transportation sector. With an aim to promote economic and commercial relationships between the UAE and Ireland, the agreement opens the door to build further on the existing Irish companies focused on the Middle East market.

With a long-standing relationship established in the Middle East, Enterprise Ireland supports Irish companies seeking to do business in the region and grow their exports further. With year-on-year growth in exports by Irish companies, they are helping to meet the demand for cutting-edge innovation in products and solutions across various industries.