Australian visit strengthens relationship with South Africa
Mr Richard Marles meets with Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister, International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa (Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Pretoria, South Africa) – Monday 21 January 2013. Also pictured on left is new Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Mr Graeme Wilson. Photo by Natalie Mendelsohn.
Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles has completed a visit to South Africa as part of the first high-level government visit to Africa since Australia’s election to the United Nations Security Council in October.
“South Africa is Australia’s largest trade and investment destination in Africa,” Mr Marles said. “The relationship is underpinned by growing political-level engagement and strong people-to-people links in sport, education, culture, tourism and business.”
Mr Marles met with South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Hon Ebrahim Ebrahim, to discuss the deepening bilateral relationship and peace and security issues in Africa.
“I appreciated hearing South Africa’s views and perspectives on major regional challenges currently before the Security Council, including the situations in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
African peace and security issues account for around two thirds of the United Nations Security Council's agenda.
The Parliamentary Secretary’s visit highlighted Australia’s desire to consult widely and seek the views of African countries on issues before the United Nations Security Council that directly affect them.
During his visit, Mr Marles also had the opportunity to participate in a workshop arranged by a local youth development NGO, Enke: Make your Mark.
“The Enke program has demonstrated its capacity to access and empower disenfranchised youth in South Africa and provide a cost effective link to other AusAID human resource development programs at a community level,” Mr Marles said.
Richard Marles with participants at a workshop for Enke’s “Make Your Mark” Community Project. Also pictured is Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Graeme Wilson (back row, second from left), and AusAID representative, Frank Thompson (far left, back row). Enke is a South African Community Development NGO that represents a diversity of South African communities. It was launched in February 2009 by a team of three youth, including an Australian, Philippa Wheaton (pictured in photo in white shirt and black jeans). Enke’s youth leadership programs have helped build the work and leadership of over 1,000 disaffected young South Africans in all nine provinces. The Australian Government has provided Enke with $130,000 since 2010 through AusAID’s Australia-Africa Community Grants Scheme and the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program. During his visit, RM announced a further AusAID grant of $75,000 to support Enke’s 2013 Youth Award program. This award is a nine-month leadership program where Grade 11 students develop their personal leadership skills and implement projects of social action in their communities. (Krugersdorp, South Africa – Saturday 19 January 2013. Photo by Natalie Mendelsohn.)
High Commission of Australian in South Africa