The Australian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Africa, Mr Bob McMullan, and the new chair of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, have agreed on the value of Australia’s engagement with the African Union in the key areas of child and maternal health, mining governance, peace and security and institutional reform.
The two met in Pretoria on 16 August during Mr McMullan’s visit to southern Africa.
Mr McMullan said he was delighted to meet with Dr Dlamini-Zuma. He said she would bring a wealth of experience and skill to her new position.
“I passed on the personal congratulations of another dynamic woman, the Australian Prime Minister, and stressed Australia’s willingness to continue working cooperatively with the African Union,” Mr McMullan said.
In September 2010, Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest and support African efforts to promote peace and security on the continent.
The MOU has also been the basis for new development partnerships between the AU and Australia including support for the AU’s Africa Mining Vision, the AU’s Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, New Born and Child Mortality and the AU’s institutional capacity program.
Mr McMullan also briefed Dr Dlamini-Zuma on Australia’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2013/14.
“We discussed the importance of strong coordination between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Commission,” Mr McMullan said.
“Nearly sixty per cent of issues dealt with by the Security Council relate to Africa, so it is important that Africa’s voice is heard”.
“To assist the AU’s efforts to advocate on peace and security issues in the Council, Australia will fund an AU peace building and development expert within the AU’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations”
“If elected to the Security Council, Australia commits itself to consultation with our friends in Africa,” Mr McMullan said.