Tim Watts has underlined the importance of trade and investment ties between Australia and Kenya, as well as action on multilateral issues including climate change, terrorism and the international rules-based order, in a speech at the Australian High Commission Chancery opening in Nairobi.
“Australia is reinvigorating our ties to Africa and from this building we will work with commitment and energy to strengthen our ties,” Watts said.
“This new High Commission building is a symbol of Australia’s enduring commitment to East Africa. From here we will take our trade and investment relationship forward, working together on the global stage, learning from each other and listening to each other.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs made his remarks last week to mark the opening of the High Commission. He was joined by Dr Alfred Matua, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, High Commissioner Luke Williams, several ambassadors and high commissioners from Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.
“We are already working together on projects to strengthen East African resilience to terrorism and violent extremism. Australia, for example, funds the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund in Kenya to support local partnerships to counter violent extremism,” Watts said.
“The High Commission also represents Australia to the United Nations agencies headquartered in Nairobi – the only United Nations headquarters in the Global South. The United Nations Environment Program plays an important role in the fight against climate change – a priority for all of our countries. issue,” he said.
Representing Australia overseas, I often run a key role within the Australian team @UN System.
On my recent trip to Kenya, I met three Australian women who are great examples of this, Lee Fung, Lisa Filipetto and Rina Ghelani.
I’m so proud of the work they’re doing pic.twitter.com/E1EfYo8dVN
— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) February 23, 2023
The Assistant Minister also utilized his visit to attend the African Union Summit in Ethiopia. He said Australia would continue to push for permanent African representation on the UN Security Council.
“Australia believes strongly in the need for African voices in global leadership, particularly in debates about the continent. It is Africans – and no one else – who should decide Africa’s future.”
“It’s been a privilege to hear from you, to hear about your priorities, the things that matter to your communities, and to discuss how we can work together,” he said.
Watts reflected on the important role of Australian businesses, particularly mining firms, in setting the bar for environmental, social and governance standards in the sector.
“They have a reputation for corporate responsibility and integrity, for welfare and safety, for the training and development of their workforce, and for ensuring environmental sustainability and security,” he said, adding that the mineral sands operator Pointing to the example of Base Resources, the largest mining project in Kwale County, Kenya.
“The base employs 98% of Kenyan citizens (two-thirds from Kwale),” Watts said.
Individuals such as farmer Stuart Barden were also playing their part in supporting Australia-Kenya relations, who packed up his family 12 years ago to start a new life in the Athi Plains.
Using farming skills in low-rainfall conditions, Barden now grows more than 3,000 acres of wheat, chickpea and green gram per season on dry, barren land.
“Above the semi-arid and barren land, Stuart’s farm is a dryland farm. It turns out that the climates of Australia and Kenya are quite similar. We both have hot summers and we could face long periods of drought,” Watts said.
“Their farming style turns the land to make it more fertile. Stuart says he shares what he’s learned about farming with anyone who cares to ask [sic] through a project run by Australian Center for International Agricultural Research Here at the High Commission.
The senator said he saw “huge opportunities” for Australia-Kenya relations.
“Australian and Kenyan businesses have much to offer each other, building on decades of trade and investment links,” he said.
During his time in Kenya, Watts also met with Parliamentary Speaker Moses Waitangula, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Boss Sholai, and the Cabinet Secretary for Education. ezekiel machogu,
machogu Was an international student in Australia and received his PhD in 2002 from Western Sydney University. He would work as a journalist and help tell the story of Africa to the rest of the world.
“Your thesis argued, among other things, that African voices needed to tell Africa’s stories. The continent’s stories could not be told through the same old external narratives,” Watts said.
“Cabinet Secretary, you are a true friend of Australia and now, as one of Kenya’s leaders, we look forward to working with you for many years to come.”