AfREC has received a positive citation from the Australian Government in its formal response to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee report and recommendations on Australia’s trade and investment relationships with the countries of Africa.
The Senate established the Committee Inquiry on 13 June 2017 and it closed on 18 August 2018. Written submissions were invited by 18 August 2017. Public hearings were held in Perth and Canberra in May 2018.
A number of AfREC members made written submissions, including Director Dr David Mickler (submission 13), Research Fellow Dr Nikola Pijovic (submission 8), and Advisory Board Member Dr Kathryn Sturman (submission 33). Dr Mickler and Dr Casta Tungaraza, AfREC Advisory Board Member and Chair, Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations, gave evidence at the public hearing in Perth.
Dr Mickler’s written and oral submissions were cited 14 times in the Committee’s Report, on issues including the relative lack of awareness about Africa in Australia, on the need to increase ‘Africa literacy’ in Australia, and on the need for greater support for education and research initiatives, including for a national Africa centre in Australia.
The Committee’s Report was released on 21 June 2018, containing 17 recommendations to the Government. The Government then tabled its response to the report and recommendations on 14 February 2019.
The Committee, in Recommendation 11, had stated: “The committee recommends that the Australian Government, in consultation with a range of stakeholders, explore options for improving Africa literacy, awareness, engagement, access to information and research.”
In its response to Recommendation 11, the Government stated:
“The Australian Government supports in principle the recommendation. The department will continue to look for opportunities for collaborative public diplomacy engagement with stakeholders such as the Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations (AGAAR), chambers of commerce, Australia's African diaspora communities, and education and research institutions. The department will continue to support Australia Africa Week (AAW) as a platform for bringing together a wide range of trade, education and cultural events to raise awareness about Africa. The department will also continue to support AGAAR, along with the Council for Australia-Arab Relations (CAAR), which covers several north African countries as part of its mandate, in support of stronger Australia-Africa ties. The Australian Government expects that the establishment of the Africa Research and Engagement Centre (AfREC) at the University of Western Australia in July 2018 will make a significant contribution to Africa literacy, building on the collaborative work of the AustraliaAfrica Universities Network.”
AfREC is delighted to have received this positive citation less than twelve months after its launch. AfREC looks forward to working with the Government, AAUN, AGAAR and other partners to advance the objectives contained in this recommendation.