New trading opportunities for Irish companies in East Africa are being explored during a government visit to Kenya this week.
Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello pledged to strengthen business links with Ireland and the emerging African market as he arrived in Nairobi.
The visit is part of the Irish government's Africa Strategy - an initiative that stresses the need to think beyond aid to develop stronger political and economic ties with African nations.
The strategy identified Kenya as a priority country, citing its potential for growth and its position as a gateway for the East Africa region.
"This visit will help us to identify which sectors have the greatest potential for Irish companies in Kenya and the wider East African region where economic growth is more than 6% per year," said Mr Costello.
"On the recent trade mission I led to South Africa and Nigeria, Irish companies secured new contracts totalling over 7 million euro (£5.9 million) in the financial services, telecommunications and educations sectors.
"I believe the East African market has similar potential for Irish companies, and I would hope that a trade mission within the next year can help to open up these markets to Irish companies who are prepared to explore that potential."
The minister added: "The only long-term solution to poverty reduction for Africa is sustained economic growth leading to increased employment and trade.
"Increasing two-way trade benefits Ireland and our African partners.
"Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has grown by over 200% in the last decade. This Government wants to ensure that Irish companies benefit from new opportunities in Africa and that Ireland continues to support African countries to prosper."