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Australia to pursue membership of the African Development Bank to help overcome poverty

July 17, 2012

Australia will pursue membership of the African Development Bank and African Development Fund to support Australia’s efforts to overcome poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

The African Development Bank promotes sustainable economic growth to reduce poverty in the African region. The Bank has 77 member countries, comprising 53 African and 24 non-African countries.

Australia is the only developed G20 country not currently a member of the Bank.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the Bank is already a valued partner in Australia’s increasing aid program in Africa and formal membership would demonstrate Australia’s intent to remain a long-term partner in Africa’s development.

“It is in Australia’s national interest to support an organisation whose mandate is to spur sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation in Africa, which would in turn help lay the platform for a greater Africa-Australia trade and investment relationship,” Mr Swan said.

Combating poverty is at the heart of the Bank’s efforts to help Africa achieve sustainable economic growth. Through the Bank’s programs between 2008 and 2010, more than 8.5 million people received improved access to water and sanitation and 16.4 million people greater access to health services. The Bank also helped build 7,400 new classrooms, trained 110,000 teachers and supplied nearly four million textbooks leading to the enrolment of an additional 267,000 children in primary school during the same period.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the African Development Bank and Fund is an effective and efficient institution.

“The Bank received a favourable review from AusAID’s recent Australian Multilateral Assessment, which concluded that funding to the Bank would deliver tangible development benefits in line with Australia’s aid objectives and represent good value for money,” Mr Carr said.

AusAID is now seeking public views, through written submissions, to Australia becoming a member of the African Development Bank and Fund. Further details can be found on AusAID’s website: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/afdb-membership

Submissions will form part of a National Interest Analysis which will be considered by the Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. The closing date for submissions is 14 August 2012.

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