The impression many have about Africa is of conflict, famine and relief effort by international charity agencies. Yet it is a huge continent and while it has its problems with huge areas of drought and conflict, it has also huge potential, with great reserves of natural resources and food production capability. It is therefore a continent with huge development potential and as China and southeast Asia have already demonstrated, as economic development takes place, wealth increases and demand for western diets follows.

Ireland already exports substantial quantities of dairy, lower-value meat products and beverages or drinks to many African countries. Of course, the African continent comprises a diverse range of cultural, political and economic environments across its 54 nations. There are three key elements to be considered when considering Africa as a market for Irish agri-food exports.