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Investment minister visits Belfast ahead of economic summit in September

Published on 2 June 2023

Lord Dominic Johnson

THE UK's Minister for Investment Lord Johnson is in Belfast on a fact-finding visit and to liaise with business leaders ahead of a major Northern Ireland investment conference in the autumn.

The summit is being held as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ambition to bring more inward investment into the north’s ‘thriving economy’ and underline the economic progress made over the last quarter of a century since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Scheduled for September 12 & 13 in Belfast, it will connect international investors with businesses locally, showcasing the “best of what Northern Ireland has to offer”,

Lord Dominic Johnson is meeting with business leaders and local and national stakeholders to build momentum ahead of the summit, and he will hold round-tables with incumbent investors.

During his visit, Lord Johnson will also visit the Weavers Cross transport hub to showcase a £400 million transport-led regeneration project.

September's summit will help to fulfil one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities to grow the UK economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.

Lord Johnson said: “Northern Ireland’s economy has seen remarkable progress in the last quarter century since the Belfast Agreement was signed, attracting over £19 billion of inward investment in 2021 and rising to become one of the UK’s largest tech hubs, second only to London.

“The Northern Ireland Investment Summit now provides a unique and exciting opportunity to showcase the very best of what this thriving economy has to offer, and I greatly look forward to welcoming investors from across the globe to share in its success.”

The summit, which is expected to be attended by the Prime Minister and other senior British government figures, is being delivered by the Department of Business and Trade in partnership with the NIO and Invest NI.

It will connect international investors with local businesses and showcase the north’s innovation and technological strengths in the sectors of the future, with a special focus on financial & professional services, life & health sciences, technology, green manufacturing and the creative services.

According to the ONS, Northern Ireland received £19.2 billion in inward investment in 2021, with the biggest international contributors being the US (£7.2bn), Germany (£1.5bn), the Netherlands (£1.3bn) and France (£0.9bn).

Some of the top industries for inward investment stock in Northern Ireland in 2021 were financial services (£2.7bn), other manufacturing (£2.3bn), and electricity, gas, water, and waste (£1.8bn).

The region landed 32 new FDI projects in 2021/22, creating 2,112 jobs, government figures show.

September's summit was first mooted when Rishi Sunak met US President Joe Biden in Belfast in April.

Speaking then, Mr Sunak said: “Northern Ireland, like the rest of the UK, is teeming with opportunities, talent and ingenuity.

“The biggest thing we can do to improve people’s standard of living and secure a prosperous and thriving Northern Ireland, is economic growth. That’s something I’m relentlessly focused on delivering.”