The October 19 US economic conference on Northern Ireland to be held in Washington is now in the final planning stages. Maria Bartiromo, CNBC anchor will host two of the sessions.
Declan Kelly US envoy to Northern Ireland says it is coming together very well.
“We are in the final stages of planning and preparation and we have been working on it now for about six months.
“The format will be quite different to any investment conference on Northern Ireland that’s been seen before. We have been working closely with the Northern Ireland administration and with Invest Northern Ireland to host a smaller event that is targeted specifically at the CEO’s of existing investors in Northern Ireland, along with potential investors and influencers who can potentially bring economic stimulus to the region.”
Several of the CEO’s of multibillion dollar companies have agreed to come and spend a day advocating on behalf of Northern Ireland to their fellow CEO’s who have yet to invest in the region. “We have been very pleased with the response we’ve received from companies we’ve targeted to come and attend,” Kelly said.
Maria Bartiromo, the anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo, has agreed to moderate two of the sessions of the economic conference. It’s understood the current format will have existing investors talk about their experiences in one session and thereafter potential investors will discuss their companies’ targets and what they would hope to achieve if they invest in the region. The conference currently has an attendee list that is running at 70 to 80 invited guests and it will be held at the State Department, where Secretary Hillary Clinton will host it.
“We’re hopeful these initiatives will have long term impact,” says Kelly. “Already we will hear the about the experiences of companies like All State, CitiBank, the New York Stock Exchange, Seagate and Caterpillar, who have enterprises in the region. The existing investors have already gone down the roads and see the point of investing in Northern Ireland. They will sit down with their counterparts and tell them why it’s a very good time to invest in the region.”
Northern Ireland, says Kelly, enjoys huge advantages because of its scale, its geographical position, and the fact that it has one of the most educated workforces in the world (including the highest ranking test scores in the UK) and the lowest operating costs in the whole of Europe.
“I think Northern Ireland has an embarrassment of riches to bring to the table at a time when many other economies don’t have those things,” added Kelly. “There are huge grounds for optimism and there is no reason to suspect that Northern Ireland can’t punch above its weight.”