Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the African Union, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 25th May, 1963. Africa Day is celebrated around the world and is an opportunity to appreciate and mark the African continent’s diverse history and heritage, while acknowledging its cultural and economic potential.
In Ireland, Africa Day represents an opportunity to acknowledge a diverse and important group of people who enrich and make a valuable contribution to Irish society. Since 2006, Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs has supported events to mark Africa Day in Ireland.
The community of people of African descent in Ireland is diverse. According to the 2016 census, Ireland was home to people from 50 African countries. The positive impact and influence of Ireland’s African communities can be seen across many aspects of Irish life, not least the worlds of art and culture, music, literature, sport, business, food and community development.
Ireland enjoys ever-strengthening ties with the continent of Africa, and has had a diplomatic presence on the continent for more than 60 years. This presence has now grown to include 12 embassies, from Cairo to Pretoria. Most recently, the Embassy of Ireland in Rabat, Morocco, opened last year.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s trade and investment links with Africa are increasing in both directions. Through Ireland’s Africa Strategy, the Government is committed to expanding mutually beneficial trade and investment, and supporting inclusive economic growth in Africa. In 2020 exports in services from Ireland to Africa were €3.3 billion (+5% on 2019) and imports in services were €648 million (+9% on 2019).
Ireland has worked in partnership with African countries for decades to support sustainable development, with a focus on reaching the furthest behind first. Ireland also works through the EU, through support for civil society, and through international organisations to support African countries in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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