Southern Africa offers myriad opportunities for Irish citizens, according to a Mozambique-based entrepreneur who volunteered in rural Southern African communities.
Waterford native Paul O’Donoghue moved to South Africa in 1988. After hopscotching around the region and working for the Department of Foreign Affairs, he ended up in the Mozambique capital of Maputo, working in the private sector, according to a report in Irish Times.
After dabbling in tourism and property development – both growth sectors in Mozambique, he said – O’Donoghue settled on a career in property development, entering the arena at a time when competition and demand were low.
At first, the bureaucracy was difficult to deal with, but it has improved significantly, he said.
Now demand for property is high but there’s also a lot more competition, especially from Mozambique, China, South Africa and Portugal, he says.
O’Donoghue cautions foreigners not to do as he did: Trying different sectors out to see what works isn’t a great idea, especially if you don’t speak Portuguese, he said in the Irish Times report.
Mozambique offers Irish graduates employment opportunities and the region has an Irish business forum named Business Ireland, the report said.
With the discovery of oil, gas and coal reserves, there’s growing demand for professionals in mining and engineering.
Irish companies with large operations in Mozambique include mining and exploration company Kenmare Resource and engineering firm Kentz. They offer opportunities to Irish people, O’Donoghue says.
O’Donoghue himself now dabbles in mining and sustainable forestry because of their potential. “I’ve a couple of mining concessions that are being finalized at the moment and I’m also on the board of the British Forestry Company, which plants new forests,” he said in the Irish Times report.