Australia moves to strengthen African presence

Australia has set the ball rolling on yet another step toward expanding the geographical reach of its aid program: to join the African Development Bank.

Formal membership to AfDB will complement and strengthen Australia’s existing ties with the bank as well as demonstrate its long-term commitment to Africa’s development, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan has explained. AfDB membership will also help lay the groundwork for a better trade and investment relationship between Africa and Australia, the official added.

As part of its pursuit for AfDB membership, the Australian Agency for International Development is inviting comments through a public consultation. The agency has prepared a consultation paper and is now seeking responses that will be incorporated in AusAID’s formal submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties of the Australian Parliament. Aside from approval from the committee, Australia needs to be accepted by existing AfDB members before it can fully join the bank.

Joining AfDB was first proposed in the development budget the Australian government released in May. In the same budget, the government said it anticipates increasing aid to Africa and the Middle East from $465 million in 2012-13 to $625 million by 2015-16.

The move appears line in with AusAID’s plans to broaden its reach. The agency has earlier unveiled the latest in a series of procurement reforms that involves seeking new partners from around the globe.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.