By Reuben Adams
AUSTRALIA-Africa Mining Industry Group (AAMIG) has called on the Australian Government to take more notice of the nation’s substantial economic footprint in Africa.
AAMIG chairman Bill Turner said that despite more than $50 billion of Australian private sector investment in Africa’s natural resources, the Australian Government’s Economic Diplomacy program was “severely inadequate”.
Only seven Australian missions covered Africa’s 54 countries and a population of more than 1 billion.
“Australia’s resources sector has a substantial footprint across the continent of Africa and by working together with the Australian Government, greater progress could be achieved in translating African mineral wealth into broader socio-economic development,” Mr Turner said.
“…for real gains to be made, the Australian Government must engage more actively with Australian resource-industry companies active on the African continent.”
Mr Turner said AAMIG was calling for policy makers to increase awareness of the economic role Australia was playing in the development of Africa.
The Group was also advocating for an increased diplomatic presence on the ground and better technical and policy assistance to Africa, to assist host governments manage their resources industries more effectively and to the benefit of all citizens.
AAMIG chief executive Trish O’Reilly said that a strategic economic diplomacy platform would make a substantial contribution to Africa’s development, such as increasing education for girls, improving infant mortality rates and decreasing chronic unemployment.
AAMIG also voted to change its name to Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group (AAMEG), subject to ASIC approval, to reflect the importance of Australian investment in both hard rock mining and oil and gas in Africa.