Australia-Africa trade rebounds.

Trade between Australia and Africa rebounded according to report by Australian government.

Australian trade with Africa rebounded in 2010, increasing nearly a third over the year to total $8.5 billion. Education services exports to Africa were up over 80 per cent since 2005, to $449 million in 2010. Education is now Australia’s second largest export to Africa, behind only aluminium ores and concentrates.

Australia’s top trading partners in Africa in 2010 were South Africa and Nigeria.

These figures come from a new report, Australia’s Trade with Africa and the Middle East, produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In the Middle East – where Australia’s merchandise trade is valued at $10.9 billion – education services are also an important contributor to Australia’s export performance, as the fourth highest export behind aluminium ore and concentrates, passenger motor vehicles and wheat.

Australia’s key trading partners in the Middle East in 2010 were the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Manufactured products are a key component of Australia’s exports to both Africa and the Middle East.

Exports of manufactures to Africa totalled $1.1 billion in 2010, which is more than a third of all merchandise exports to Africa. These manufactures included pharmaceuticals, civil engineering equipment and specialised machinery.

Exports of manufactures to the Middle East were valued at $2.4 billion and comprised more than a third of the total merchandise exports in 2010. The majority of these manufactured exports were elaborately transformed manufactures (ETMs), underpinned by exports of motor vehicles and vehicle parts and accessories.

Australia is behind in trade volume compared to its Asian neighbors like China, South Korea, Japan and a few others. Australian resource companies are now spending tens of billions of dollars on exploration and development, and ngineering and service companies are clinching billions of dollars of contracts, across Africa. There are already strong mining and resource links between Australia and Africa. More than 150 Australian minerals and petroleum resources companies, around 40 percent have interests in more than 40 African countries, with current and prospective investment estimated at $20 billion. Australia’s minerals and resources companies have more projects in Africa than in any other region of the world.

Australian companies are active in delivering a wide range of world-class mining services – including engineering, consulting and analysis. They enjoy a well-earned reputation for excellent safety records and high environmental standards. They have experience working in diverse multicultural environments, and they apply that expertise all around the world. Australia is an example of how resource development used wisely can deliver wealth for the entire nation.

African nations have an important and growing influence in multilateral fora. They comprise more than a quarter of the membership of the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the Commonwealth.  For Australia it makes strategic sense to engage with Africa bilaterally, regionally and through the African Union. Whether you look to Europe, the United States, India, Japan or China, the world sees opportunity in Africa and opportunities for Africa in the world.  Australia’s re-engagement is part of this long-term common sense, wider trend. Australia now has diplomatic relations with 51 of Africa’s 53 countries, excluding Guinea Bissau and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This is compared with 41 in 2007.

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