Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles departs for Ethiopia today to attend the African Union Summit.
Mr Marles said Australia was committed to further strengthening ties with the AU and individual African countries.
“Africa has considerable economic potential and is of growing strategic importance to global stability and security,” Mr Marles said.
“The AU Summit provides an opportunity for me to discuss these issues directly with African counterparts and to highlight Australia’s increasing engagement with Africa.
“The opening of an Embassy in Senegal — our first in Francophone West Africa — will provide a significant boost to Australia's growing commercial and political interests in West Africa.
“We have substantial commercial interests in Africa, particularly in the resources sector, with $A50 billion in current and prospective investment.
“Since 2007, Australia’s development assistance to Africa has tripled.
“The Australian Government has also strengthened its engagement with Africa on peace and security issues by contributing personnel to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), providing financial support and equipment to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and we will host an international counter-piracy conference in Perth.”
11 July 2012