“I received a very warm welcome on arrival to the UAE,” said Richard. “It’s a region that is often misunderstood but there are many similarities between Arabs and the Irish such as our sense of community, family and heritage along with a great sense of humour. But when doing business there, it’s important to understand the differences, particularly in how business is conducted. You have to be patient as a deal can take time to get over the line but when it does, you have to be able to respond fast.
“Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Egypt and Qatar are evolving at pace. There is considerable population growth and a huge reliance on imports and outside expertise in areas such as tourism, infrastructure and technology. The Irish do very well in the Arab world and the opportunities are vast. I think we’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s never been a better time to explore what the region has to offer. The Arab Irish Business Forum is an incredible opportunity to hear the inside track from business leaders already exporting to or doing business in the Gulf and Middle East and I think the learnings and networking will prove invaluable.”
Irish exports1 to the Middle East and Gulf hit €1.46 billion for the first half of 2023 with notable increases in exports to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In addition to merchandise, the Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin estimates that trade in services, worth an estimated €4 billion in 2022, will meet if not exceed the overall value of goods exported to the Arab states this year.
Speakers at the Arab Irish Business Forum include former Tourism chief, Niall Gibbons; country manager for Emirates, Anita Thomas, COO of the Bahrain Stock Exchange, Abdulla Adbin, Expo2020 technology head, Mohammed Al Hashmi, economist, Jim Power, Ian Cahill of Flahavan’s and Ahmad Younis, CEO of the Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce.