Australia in Africa


Australia has a clear national interest in the security, stability and prosperity of 
sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the world’s most rapidly growing regions, its development and economic prospects remain positive. The high rates of growth and increased political stability are creating opportunities for Australian trade and investment, particularly in the mining sector. Poverty in the region has declined steadily over the last two decades, and natural resource rents provide opportunities to finance further development gains.


Why we are helping

Africa is the poorest continent in the world: it has 33 of the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) and almost half the continent (more than half a billion) lives in extreme poverty. Africa has the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty and is expected to make up to 60 per cent of the world’s extreme poor by 2015. Africa lags behind other regions in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress, with sub-Saharan Africa most off track against all the MDGs.

In sub-Saharan Africa:

  • 1 in 8 children die before the age of 5, nearly twice the average in other developing regions.
  • Women face a 1 in 31 chance of dying in pregnancy or child birth, compared to only 1 in 4300 in developed regions of the world.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa makes up over 26 per cent of the world undernourished population (234 million people). 1 in 4 people suffer from chronic hunger.
  • 40 per cent of people do not have access to safe water.
  • Almost 70 per cent of the population does not have access to improved sanitation facilities.

With rapidly increasing links through trade, investment and migration, Australia has a national interest in the prosperity and stability of Africa.


Africa is dealing with issues of global interest. Our United Nations Security Council seat gives Australia a global voice to help tackle and resolve these issues such as piracy, terrorism, conflict-affected and fragile states and food insecurity.


Where we are helping

Australian aid is investing in sectors that drive economic growth, trade and job creation. Through our aid program we aim to deliver activities that boost agricultural productivity and markets, improve the management of the extractives sector and its revenues, and build the skills and knowledge of individuals to contribute to Africa’s development. Our development assistance predominantly focuses on the Indian Ocean region (East and Southern Africa).

Australia’s development cooperation with Africa seeks to make a practical and unique contribution, by focusing on sectors where Australia has experience and expertise and is best able to make a difference. Australia’s development assistance to Africa is focused on building human resource capacity in:

  • natural resource management including mining governance
  • food security and agriculture
  • water and sanitation, and
  • maternal and child health.


How we are helping

In 2014/15, the Australian Government will contribute an estimated AUD 186.9 million in aid to sub-Saharan Africa. Australian aid requires strong and effective partnerships. Australia’s development objectives cannot be achieved working in isolation. Australia delivers its aid program to Africa largely by working in partnership with multilateral and regional organisations, bilateral donors and non-government and community-based organisations, as well as building capacity through the provision of education and training opportunities for Africans, and encouraging Australian private sector investment on the continent.


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