Tim Watts, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs is set to hold bilateral talks with Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr. Alfred Mutua during the ongoing 42th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.
Australia is eyeing more investment opportunities in Kenya, to bolster trade ties the two country continue to enjoy.
“This visit is an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and support the African Union’s vital role in promoting peace and prosperity,” said Watts in a press statement.
Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will play a key among central points in improving the Continent’s infrastructure and air travel.
“I emphasised the critical role of the Private Sector in AfCFTA implementation especially in delivering unified infrastructure, air travel and telecoms interconnectivity which are the 3 factors hindering effective implementation of the common market,” said Moses Kuria, Kenya’s trade minister.
During the AU Summit, Kuria invited the African Private Sector Alliance (APSA) conference in Nairobi next month that will bring together Africa’s Top 100 Companies in support of AfCFTA
Australia has important economic, security, international political and multilateral interests with Africa. Partnerships with African countries will be essential in tackling challenges such as climate change.
AU Summit; Pull factors for Australia
A wave of African entrepreneurs is driving innovation in the information technology sector, growing tech start-up funding and investment.
The emergence of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt as major start-up hubs will provide opportunities for Australian businesses in new areas. Australia connects to the East Africa through the Indian Ocean, and the blue economy also offers significant opportunities.
Furthermore, AfCFTA will help to unlock future economic growth for countries across Africa and eventually allow Australian exporters to access Africa as a single market.
Currently, forty-four (44) member states are state parties to the AfCFTA Agreement following the ratification of the instruments establishing the AfCFTA while fifty-four (54) member states have signed the Agreement.
It will be Watts’ second visit on the continent in under two months.
In December 2022, the lawmaker visited the continent for the first time as assistant foreign minister for discussions in Morocco, Ghana and South Africa for new opportunities.
With a middle class of about 310 million people, Africa offers a significant trade diversification opportunity for Australian businesses.
Australia’s two-way trade with Africa was at almost $10 billion in 2022, buoyed by major trade and investment relationships with South Africa.
In Kenya, trade volume with South Africa in five years to 2022 was at $2.05 billion on a significant improvement from 2021 which stood at $55.6 million.
Major Australian companies operating in Africa include Flight Centre, Cotton On, Telstra and Zip are active in the South African market, while major mining firms BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have operations across Africa.