Foreign investment in the Northern Ireland economy could generate 33,000 new jobs over the next ten years, a new report suggests.
According to new research from trade and investment advisory OCO Global, the province is poised to build on the progress made over the last 25 years.
The success is dependent on the province demonstrating its “investor friendliness” and political stability.
The report states this is because the Good Friday Agreement can capitalise on the current international goodwill and the benefits of dual market access to the UK and the European Union.
It also predicted overseas visitor numbers could increase to 5.7 million from 3 million currently, while air route capacity would increase.
The report was released to commemorate the signing of the agreement.
It said the province has enormous potential in the coming years.
The report said: “Doubling down on the commitments and shared island dimension of the GFA enhanced by a unique dual market access proposition via the Northern Ireland Protocol/Windsor Framework could again accelerate the size and prosperity of the Northern economy, not in 25 years but in 10 years.”
Its forecast follows the announcement that economic output in Northern Ireland has more than doubled since 1998, rising to £43.7 billion today from £19.8 billion in 1998.
GDP per capita has risen to £25,575 from £13,391 over the same period, one of the largest increases of any UK region.
According to the report, outside investment, trade, tourism, and infrastructure investment have transformed the economy.
The economic boost has increased prosperity and life expectancy in Northern Ireland, as well as attracting new residents.
The percentage of people claiming good health has increased to 79 percent of the population, up from 70 percent in 1998, and the population is more diverse, with 5 percent of residents born outside Northern Ireland, up from 1.8 percent in 1998.
The report said: “Clearly, not everyone has felt these benefits to the same degree and we have far too many communities still living in deprivation, but the best way to address these problems is to keep building prosperity whilst ensuring that we give people the means to access the opportunities growth brings,”
Mark O’Connell, Chair of OCO Global, said. “The Good Friday Agreement’s anniversary will focus the world’s attention on Northern Ireland; it is a one-off opportunity to demonstrate that we are investor friendly and, vitally, have political stability.
“There’s a lot of goodwill internationally for Northern Ireland; let’s ensure we make the most of it.”
One of the biggest changes in the economy over the last 25 years has been the shift from a reliance on the public to the private sector, the report said, while the makeup of the largest employers has also changed significantly, as below:
Source: Business Live