The African Union’s Golden Jubilee: reflections on Australia’s relationship with Africa

Parliament house flag post

The African Union’s Golden Jubilee: reflections on Australia’s relationship with Africa

Posted 28/05/2013 by Nina Markovic

On 25 May 2013 (Africa Day), the African Union celebrated its 50th anniversary. Originally established in 1963 as The Organization of African Unity with 30 states, it now has 54 members. In 2010, Australia signed a memorandum of understanding with the AU’s Secretariat, the African Union Commission, and this year’s Golden Jubilee provides an opportunity to reflect on Australia’s diversifying relationship with Africa.

The African continent continues to face significant human security challenges, to which Australia has contributed in excess of $0.5 billion in aid annually since 2010–11. African nations (such as Ethiopia and Mozambique) are among the fastest growing in the world, with a combined population of over 1 billion people and huge investment potential. Australia has established diplomatic relations with all African countries, and Australian interests in the African resource industry continue to grow.

A May 2013 media release from the office of Foreign Minister Bob Carr reveals the substantial recent growth in Australia’s investment in Africa:
In 2011–12, Australia's two-way trade with Africa was valued at $11.6 billion with it growing at an average annual rate of 9.5 per cent over the last five years. Australia's commercial relationship with Africa is focused on mining. Estimates suggest there are well over 200 Australian mining companies active in around 42 countries in Africa with current and prospective investments estimated to be approximately US$50 billion.
At the Africa Down Under conference in Perth last August, Foreign Minister Carr suggested that Australia had a role to play in showing Africa how to reach economic independence through mining. About 40 per cent of Australian overseas investment in the resources sector is concentrated in Africa, and the 2013–14 Budget provides funding for Australia to join the African Development Bank Group ($9.3 million over four years).

Africa’s support was critical last year to Australia’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. In March and April 2009, Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce led Australia’s delegation to Africa to lobby for the UN Security Council seat, which the Opposition criticised. About 14 000 African students are currently studying in Australia, and from 2014, one thousand Australian Government postgraduate scholarships will be offered to students from Africa under the Australia Africa Awards scheme.

The Defence White Paper 2013 also gave unprecedented attention to the African continent, compared with previous White Papers, noting specifically (on page 17):
Australia’s direct interest in Africa’s stability will grow as our businesses increase their investment there, particularly in mineral resources, and place more Australian nationals on the ground. Australia will remain committed to supporting international peacekeeping within our capacity and providing targeted defence cooperation to enhance regional peacekeeping capabilities on the African continent.
Australia’s civil society engagement and leadership dialogue with Africa is also expanding. On 21 May 2013, Kevin Rudd, MP launched the Australia-Africa Dialogue at La Trobe University. The first Aus-Africa Dialogue, organised by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and The Brenthurst Foundation of South Africa, is expected to take place in mid-2013 in Western Australia. An Associate of The Brenthurst Foundation and co-founder and General Manager of TransAfrika Resources, Thomas Nziratimana, recently spoke of his hopes for the inaugural Dialogue and for the growing business relationship between Australia and Africa:
I couldn’t be happier to witness the rapid growth of Australian interests in Africa because, of the new investors who have arrived over the past ten years or so, I firmly believe that Australia stands out for its unique and specialised expertise in resource management, infrastructure investment, and robust legal and regulatory frameworks.

Australia stands out for the quality of your business practices, the quality of your executives and technicians. These are some of the reasons that I firmly believe that the quality of your engagement with African governments needs to be redefined, enhanced, and strengthened, hence the importance of the central role that the Aus–Africa Dialogue could play. 
The Aus–Africa Dialogue will help build the bridge linking the two continents we thought were too wide apart, crossing a sea we thought was too large and windy to cross.

The Aus–Africa Dialogue will help foster a new and much richer appreciation of each other, and I am excited by how much good could flow from it, for both of our peoples. The Aus–Africa Dialogue aims to provide a strategic direction in this growing and important relationship, and we hope it will become an annual event.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment taxation Sport illicit drugs Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force welfare policy Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States higher education people trafficking school education aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA United Nations federal budget health financing emissions trading gambling Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme forced labour Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Fair Work Act child protection people smuggling debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure ALP New Zealand Australian Crime Commission Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament slavery by-election political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Afghanistan Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs poker machines doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing paid parental leave European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing election timetable citizenship Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel violence against women domestic violence disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation family assistance expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens money laundering servitude Special Rapporteur Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days baby bonus DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions

Show all
Show less
Back to top