Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland is not bad at this investment lark

By David Elliott

This inward investment lark seems to be something we're pretty good at.

As we get to the business end of the Northern Ireland Investment Conference, PwC thought it was time to do what numbers people do well and that's benchmark ourselves against the rest of the UK.

Normally those in the Northern Ireland economy cover their eyes and ears when these types of analyses are carried out but it seems in this case there is nothing to fear.

The business advisors point out that we won 6% of total UK inward investment in 2012-2013, a figure which might not sound like much but is pretty impressive when you consider Northern Ireland accounts for just 3% of the UK population.

That's backed up by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) which said Northern Ireland is one of the most successful regions in Europe for inward investment.

And we're getting better.

Foreign direct investment increased by 41% in the year to 2012-2013 with the number of investment projects rising from 27 to 38. That's well ahead the 11% increase witessed across the UK as a whole.

But that doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels, as PwC's chief economist Esmond Birnie  said.

"The next 24 hours is a unique selling opportunity; we have skills, infrastructure and a business cost base, which, collectively, are as competitive as anywhere in Europe."

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