Visas and Industrial Labour Laws - Important Changes You Should Know.1
Welcome to Australia Africa Business Council

The AUSTRALIA AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL aims to unite business communities on both continents. The Council promotes business networks, social contacts and increased trade and investment between Africa and Australia.

Members of the AABC enjoy:

  • Support from leading corporations, banks and statutory bodies as well as many individuals and their networks.
  • Regular functions with high profile and VIP guest speakers. 
  • Participation in trade missions, joint ministerial commissions, trade delegations and business briefings. 
  • A free subscription to the magazine Boab Connection. 
  • Contacts with government and diplomatic representatives.
  • Trade and investment enquiries. 
  • Promotion of your business at events and in our publications. 
  • Corporate sponsorship opportunities available. 
  • Potential for lobbying and business research.

Overview -Trade and Development in Africa

Overall, economic performance in sub-Saharan Africa has improved steadily over the last five years as better macroeconomic and structural policies have begun to bear fruit. Africa's economic performance is expected to continue improving because greater efforts are being made to strengthen the policies that are crucial for boosting economic growth. Two major drivers of development are trade and investment.

Expanding Africa's trade with the rest of the world

Throughout Africa an increasing number of countries are opening up to the opportunities of global trade. There is today a decisive effort to allow foreign trade to play a lead role in the growth process.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, most African countries have made significant progress in liberalising their exchange and trade regimes, often in the context of IMF-supported programs or regional arrangements. They have substantially lowered quantitative restrictions on trade, reduced maximum tariffs and the dispersion of tariff rates, and lifted restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions. Given the improvement in growth performance that has accompanied the opening of their trade regimes, many African countries are seeking to press ahead with further tariff reductions. Firm timetables for tariff reform are being established to bring African tariff regimes in line with best practices in other developing regions. Tariff reductions are also being accompanied by the elimination of exemptions, the broadening of the tax base, and measures to develop alternative sources of revenue and to improve administrative efficiency, so as to minimise net revenue losses.

Many African countries are trying to enhance the credibility of their reform efforts by incorporating them into regional or multilateral arrangements. There are several examples of this in Africa, including the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMAC), of the East African Community, and of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA).

Critical supporting policies are also being put in place, including, the maintenance of appropriate exchange and interest rate policies, and equitable taxation systems. In addition, structural measures are being implemented to reduce the relatively high transaction costs weighing on African producers, through investment in the physical infrastructure, rationalising the frameworks for transportation and communication networks; and simplifying bureaucratic procedures.

Back to top

Raising investment in Africa

Higher average growth rates, sustained over a long period, are necessary to substantially reduce poverty and this requires much higher investment. Investment ratios in sub-Saharan Africa have gradually increased over the past few years. African countries are making greater efforts to raise domestic savings rates and mobilise private capital. They are making progress toward meeting these challenges through appropriate policies. The policies for strengthening domestic savings include pursuing macroeconomic stability through appropriate, market-determined interest and exchange rates, prudent fiscal policies, and reforms of the domestic financial sector. The perceived risk of investment is being reduced by:

  1. Legal reforms to simplify commercial jurisprudence and improve the functioning of the courts, enforce contracts fairly and impartially, and protect property rights;
  2. Regulatory reforms that provide an efficient structure of incentives, including through rationalised investment codes
  3. Targeted government spending to ensure that the necessary human capital and physical infrastructure is created and extended; and
  4. Consistent, credible policy formulation that minimises the likelihood of policy reversal and maximises its predictability. To ensure the successful implementation of these policies, greater attention is being given to civil service reform.

There is widespread recognition of the importance of trade and investment for Africa's future. Industrial countries should do their part in helping Africa by providing open access to their markets, and supporting efforts to improve administrative efficiency, combat corruption, and promote transparency.

Information courtesy IMF. Edited excerpts from speech by Alassane D. Ouattara on Africa's economic development in the context of an increasingly globalised world

Back to top

NEPAD - New Partnership for Africa's Developments

Please see PDF info on The African Union and NEPAD on "links" at the bottom of this page)

NEPAD is a merger of the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Program (MAP) and the OMEGA Plan. The merger was finalised on July 3, 2001 and the policy framework was completed by October 23, and NEPAD was formed. Focusing on education, health, regional infrastructure, agriculture, market access and preservation of the environment.


Principles on which the NEPAD program is based upon

  • African ownership and leadership
  • Self-reliant development
  • Promotion of good governance and sound economic management
  • Recognition of the diversity of African countries
  • Accelerated regional economic integration
  • Promotion of partnerships with the private sector civil society and the international community
  • A new partnership with highly industrialised countries and multilateral institutions based on mutual respect and responsibility

South Africa - an economic powerhouse

As the biggest economy in Africa, South Africa has the added advantage of providing the key platform for investment into Africa and strategic access to the Indian Ocean markets and South America. Since Africa is the world's last relatively unexploited market, foreign business can find much of interest here, with South Africa as the starting point. Africa is open for business and South Africa is leading the way.

Back to top

Australia and the African continent

Australian experience is of great relevance to Africa:

  • Australia is a vast continent like Africa
  • Experience in moving from an over reliance on mining and agricultural commodities to a diversified modern economy
  • Existing ties with Africa need to be strengthened
  • Great investment opportunities for the Australian private sector

AABC - promoting trade and development

The AABC is a not-for-profit organisation that was established to promote and foster trade and investment between Australia and Africa. Activities of the AABC include:

  • Regular functions with high profile speakers supported by leading Australian corporations and individuals
  • Informal boardroom gatherings giving members the opportunity to discuss their own business interests
  • Direct introductions to businesses and government in Africa by those who are known in the region
  • Promoting communications with African embassies, High Commissions and Councils in Australia
  • Networking forums
  • Participation in inward and outbound trade and investment missions led by governments of Australia and Africa
  • Organisation of trade and investment seminars and conferences
  • The AABC's magazine Boab Connection provides information and regular feature articles on trade and development issues