Australia strengthens links with Africa at the 19th African Union summit

Media release

18 July 2012

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Richard Marles, highlighted Australia’s expanded engagement with Africa during meetings with leaders from across the continent at this week’s 19th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mr Marles met Heads of State and Ministers from close to 50 African countries, as well as leaders from key regional organisations.

"Africa’s global strategic and economic significance continues to grow," Mr Marles said.

"With $50 billion of current or prospective investment, the mining sector is an example of strong Australian commercial interests in Africa," he said.

Mr Marles also highlighted Australia’s development and humanitarian assistance programs in Africa, which have more than tripled since 2007.

"Australia is a long-term development partner for Africa, as reflected in our recent decision to join the African Development Bank," Mr Marles said.

"Australia will provide more than 1000 Australia Awards scholarships to the continent in 2012, which demonstrates our commitment to help develop the skills and capacity of Africa’s wealth of human talent. And Australia’s expertise in areas such as mining governance, food security and maternal and child health, is also making an important, targeted contribution to Africa’s development."

Mr Marles also gained valuable African perspectives on key peace and security challenges that impact on Australian interests, such as terrorism and piracy.

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