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Seminar on African Aid - Kerin to visit Somalia Australian Aboriginal AIDS workers to work in Africa

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MTAI 62 Date: December 1992




The Minister for Trade & Overseas Development, John Kerin, today announced that he will visit Somalia at the end of January 1993.

"I will be assessing how aid is working in Somalia and meeting Australian aid workers and troops on the ground," Mr Kerin said.

Mr Kerin was speaking at a seminar in Canberra attended by leading Australian non government organisations to discuss the future directions of Australian aid expenditure in Africa. At the seminar, Mr Kerin spoke of the future shape of Australia's aid program to Africa.

Australia's current $110 million three-year commitment to southern Africa finishes in June 1993.

"It is now time to build on our very effective work in Africa there and reconsider our Africa program in the context of the overall international aid effort," Mr Kerin said.

"Australia can most effectively respond to Africa's needs by concentrating future aid in those sectors where the greatest impact on poverty alleviation can be made through our specific and readily available expertise.

"The new program will concentrate on sectors where Africa has a need and where Australia can provide key expertise. It will have clear poverty focus and look at strategies to promote

sustainable development. Areas of sectoral focus will include agriculture and food production, health - including HIV/AIDS, and education and training.

"By adopting a sectoral focus to our aid for Africa, Australia will not be constrained by the need to meet aid targets set on a country by country basis. We will be able to direct aid to where we believe it can most effectively be applied.

"The program will feature an expanded role for NG0s, in the fields of both agriculture and health assistance at the community level. Women, as the principle growers of food in Africa and the highest 'at risk' group from HIV/AIDS, will be the primary beneficiaries," Mr Kerin said.

"The catchment area for our program will widen to include countries in eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa while also consolidating our established aid delivery arrangements in southern Africa.


"This development assistance program will be complemented by a

continuing commitment to emergency and refugee assistance as required."

Mr Kerin said that one initiative of the new program includes the involvement of aboriginal aids and health workers in the Salvation Army's AIDS workshops at Chikankata in Zambia.

"The involvement of the Aboriginal health group is an example of the two-way interaction which I am encouraging under the new Africa program," Mr Kerin said.

Also at the seminar, the Hon. Ian MacPhee AO discussed the findings of his review into the effectiveness of Australian NGOs in delivering development cooperation to Africa.

"Mr MacPhee has provided a thorough review of the processes involved in delivering Australian aid to Africa through NGOs and its recommendations have proposed a series of changes which will lead to a greater efficiency of the scheme," Mr Kerin said.

_ "The findings of Ian MacPhee and his team and the proposals I have in mind for Australia's future aid to Africa will mean that, even within existing commitment levels, we should be able provide a more effective and well-targeted aid program."

For further information contact:

Minister's office: Simon Grose 06 2777 420

AIDAB Public Affairs: Janine Constantine 06 276 4737 Cathy Walker 06 276 4960