Mid South West launches regional strategy to supercharge economic growth

  • A new Regional Economic Strategy has been created with the aim of transforming Northern Ireland’s Mid South West (MSW) region.

    Centred on boosting productivity, the development is a collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council.

    Produced through research, analysis, and engagement with employers throughout the region, the plan identifies challenges and opportunities, and sets out four pillars for investment growth.

    The pillars are future proofing the skills base, enabling infrastructure, boosting innovation and digital capacity, and building a high performing tourism economy.

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    The strategy sets out numerous potential projects under each of the pillars to increase productivity.

    These include:

    • Further development of critical road infrastructure
    • The implementation of a Skills Action Plan
    • The development of an Innovation and Skills Academy through the South West College and an Agri-Food Robotics Centre, at CAFRE Loughry Campus
    • The development of a life and health science opportunity in Carn, Craigavon
    • Delivery of an MSW destination tourism experience
    • Further development of cross-border assets such as the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.
    • The Regional Economic Strategy will hope to enable the MSW region to leverage financial investment from a range of sources, with particular focus on government funding.

    It was due to launch in spring 2020 but was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.

    First Minister Arlene Foster said: “By joining forces, the three councils within the Mid South West have developed a plan which will transform not just the region, but the wider economy. The Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy is aligned with the recovery plans of central government and is particularly relevant as the economy recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    “As someone who grew up and lives in the Mid South West, it is particularly pleasing to see a roadmap laid out for this vibrant region, one which can only benefit from a joined up approach.”

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    Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill added that the economy “needs to be fairer, more regionally balanced, greener and more sustainable” in its recovery.

    She noted that the £252m Growth Deal funding package that has been secured for the area is a “fantastic and unique opportunity” and that “this strategy will help to ensure the right initiatives are put in place to help the region reach its full potential and achieve prosperity.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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