Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa is a diverse, dynamic, and rapidly evolving region. Stretching from North Africa to the Levant and the Gulf, the Middle East is home to more than half a billion people, with high population growth and a number of conflict-affected areas.

Ireland works closely with regional and international partners to respond to some of the region’s most pressing challenges. Through our network of Embassies we support conflict resolution, peace-building, sustainable development, human rights, and humanitarian crisis response. Ireland continues to strengthen our presence in the Middle East and North Africa and have in recent years opened new embassies in Amman and Rabat.

one man in a suit in a line with soldiers in their uniform
Taoiseach Micheál Martin with Irish peacekeepers in Tibnine, Lebanon, May 2022

Ireland supports UN and EU efforts to promote political solutions to crises, and ensure humanitarian responses where needed. Irish peacekeepers continue their strong tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East region. Currently, Irish peacekeepers are serving in UN missions in UNTSO, UNIFIL and UNDOF. 

Discover more information about the Irish Defence Force Missions.

large outdoor amphitheater lit up in green
St Patrick’s Day ‘Greening’ of the Roman Amphitheatre, Amman, 17 March, 2022

Ireland is committed to working more closely with countries in the MENA region in key areas including, energy, green transition and climate change, trade and economic diversification, regional stability and global security, and humanitarian and development challenges.

Closer people-to-people contacts between students, researchers, businesses and citizens will improve mutual understanding and trust. Ireland strongly supports multilateralism and social transformation including human rights and gender equality, Ireland will continue to engage in political dialogue on these issues with the MENA countries.

>> Latest statements on Middle East and North Africa

Trade and Investment in the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa region represents a diverse and rapidly-growing market for Irish business. The MENA region is strategically important for the world, and is beginning to develop its economic potential beyond its traditional strengths in the energy sector.

In 2021, Ireland-MENA goods trade reached record levels, worth more than 5.3 billion Euro, with sustained growth over the past four years. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE are priority markets which accounted for more than 80% of Irish goods exports to the region in 2021.

The Ireland-MENA service trade reached a record of 8.6 billion Euro in 2020, with sustained market growth of 436% compared to 2010. The Middle East is a priority market under the Government’s Trade and Investment Strategy 2022-2026.The Department of Foreign Affairs works to facilitate business opportunities in the region, collaborating across government, including with State agencies such as Enterprise IrelandBord Bia, and IDA Ireland

Advice on investment in Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory

Please read advice for Irish citizens and businesses regarding involvement in financial and economic activities in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, on gov.ie.

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