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Australia’s assistance to Africa to reach $310m by 2012

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Australia will increase its development assistance to Africa by a further AUD$90 million in 2011-2012 bringing its total to AUD$291.3 million, equivalent to $310.58 million.

The acting Australian High Commissioner in Accra, Ms Joanna Adamson, said increasing aid to Africa by 45% was part of the Australian government’s commitment to scale up its development assistance programmes.

This will increase the country’s foreign aid package to levels equivalent to half a percentage of the total output of the economy (or 0.5 percent of Gross National Income)n by 2015-20­16, a programme which will increase its assis­tance to Africa.

Ms Adamson said in a statement in Accra that “a major benefit to Ghana and other West African countries will be the expansion of the Australia Awards Programme.”

The awards provide scholarships for both long-term and short-term courses at Australian universities, intended to strengthen human resource capacity within governments and institutions in Africa and as such are firmly aligned with the priorities of those governments.

Australia has promised to offer more than 750 awards across at least 40 African coun­tries in 2012.

“Australia will also share experience and expertise with countries in the region, in areas such as agriculture and natural resource man­agement,” Ms Adamson added.

Food Security is a key pillar of Australia’s increased engagement with Africa and in West and Central Africa, Australia’s Common­wealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) has formed a partnership with the Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), and with Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA).

She said those partnerships were focused on increasing crop productivity through more efficient use of water management, improving animal disease management and increasing services for smallholder farmer inputs and products.

She added that her country would also maintain strong support for humanitarian needs on the continent, including assistance to Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ms Adamson stated that the Australian government remained committed to ensuring that every dollar spent on aid had the maxi­mum impact on poverty and economic development.

Source: Daily Graphic

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