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Australia and Africa: forging a new partnership.



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Mr Smith’s Office: Courtney Hoogen on 0488 244901 Departmental : (02) 6261 1555

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Minister for Foreign Affairs

M E D I A R E L E A S E

FA147 22 September 2008

AUSTRALIA AND AFRICA - FORGING A NEW PARTNERSHIP

Australia is committed to broadening and deepening its engagement with Africa, Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said today as he attended the United Nations High Level Meeting on African Development in New York.

Africa still faces major development challenges, but major changes have been taking place across the continent that give rise to real optimism about its future.

Overall, African economies have been performing much more strongly in recent years, achieving good growth rates and undertaking economic reforms.

The number of countries in Africa with democratically-elected governments has grown. Democratic institutions are stronger than they have ever been and increasingly we are seeing the peaceful transfer of political power.

Australia is taking its first steps in forging a new partnership with Africa.

The Australian Government is committed to broadening and deepening its engagement with Africa. We want to partner with Africa to make a contribution to development and security and to tackle global challenges.

Australia has long contributed to building the capacity of State institutions in Africa and to UN peacekeeping operations.

We are enhancing our support to strengthen peace and security on the continent, including the UN-African Union mission in Darfur, and support UN initiatives to build conflict prevention capacity in the African Union.

We are also helping in practical ways through the provision of over $115 million in development assistance to Africa in this financial year.

Today I announced that Australia will provide $10 million in assistance to Ethiopia to provide emergency food supplies and also to build longer term, community level resilience to the adverse impact of drought and climate change.

Australia’s commercial relationship in Africa is growing. Our companies are playing a leading role in the development of the continent’s natural resources, particularly in mining.

Australian mining companies in Africa have investments in Africa estimated at around $15 billion, with many significant projects in the pipeline.

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Mr Smith’s Office: Courtney Hoogen 02 6277 7500 or 0488 244901

Departmental : (02) 6261 1555

It is time that Australia’s overall engagement with Africa caught up with the lead taken by our companies. We need to enhance our dialogue with African nations in forums that address pressing global issues such as food security and climate change.

As a significant and prosperous nation, Australia is determined to play its part, both in tackling Africa’s problems and in helping to unlock its enormous potential.