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Newsletter 12/2020

A Message from Team Australia | Consul General Mr Ian Halliday


As with most organizations this year, Austrade moved fast to adapt to the unprecedented times. Working from home to servicing clients digitally, hosting virtual events, updating marketing strategies, and as of recently developing a global servicing model that will provide exporters more in-depth support when it comes to doing business internationally.

The Australian government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) program helped keep the supply chains open during the challenging times providing relief to Australian exporters who are reliant on airfreight to access key international export markets. Under the program, there were a number of scheduled flights to the UAE, which ensured uninterrupted distribution channels, especially for fresh produce, across the region.  

This year the eighth edition of the MENA Connections seminars was hosted online. Traditionally held annually in key cities in Australia, in collaboration with the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the event which focuses on highlighting trade and investment opportunities for Australian exporters in the Middle East and North Africa region, was delivered in a webinar format from July – November 2020.

The webinar series included Australian Ambassadors based in the region briefing clients on the political, regulatory, and economic environment in their respective markets. And the sector webinars focused on current and future export opportunities in the following sectors – Food and Agribusiness; Education; Healthcare; and Mining and Resources.

Australian start-ups had some notable successes this year. Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), an organization that helps refugees and other displaced people move internationally for work, leveraging their own professional skills, won the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant. Another pioneering Aussie company, Has Algae was declared one of the winners of the UAE Foodtech challenge (a global competition that seeks innovative solutions to address food security). Has Algae has been working on ways to convert microalgae – rich in antioxidants and omega 3s – into everyday foods like pasta, yogurt, ice cream, and bread.

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar, which is a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company made some significant investments in the renewable energy sector in Australia, which included a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based advisory and development firm Tribe Infrastructure Group to acquire a 40% stake in construction of the A$511 million Greenfield East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility plant in Western Australia. Masdar also made its second investment after joining the Maryvale Energy from Waste (EfW) project in the state of Victoria as an equity partner along with Tribe, Opal Australian Paper, and SUEZ Australia and New Zealand, which will divert approximately 325,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill and reuse it to generate steam and electricity to replace natural gas and coal fired electricity.

The year-end also brought some exciting news as Austrade was awarded the FinTech Initiative of the Year award at FinTech Abu Dhabi 2020. Bringing together the global FinTech community to discuss the future of FinTech and Abu Dhabi's role as a leading FinTech hub, the event is organized by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Central Bank of UAE. Austrade was recognized for leading initiatives to support the FinTech ecosystem globally.

We are progressing quite steadily with our plans for Expo 2020 Dubai. The construction of the Australian pavilion is almost complete, and we are working closely with the Expo organizing committee to profile Australian success stories through their platforms, and also feature Australian industry experts and innovative companies in the pre-expo virtual themed events.

2020 may not have been the year that went as planned but that didn’t deter us from accomplishing a few milestones. There is a lot to look forward in 2021, especially with the vaccine coming out, we expect a return to ‘business as usual’ at least by mid next year if not sooner.

I would like to also thank the team at the Australian Business Council Dubai for the tremendous work they do in supporting the Australian business community. We look forward to further collaborations in 2021.

For those traveling during the holidays, have a safe trip. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New year. 


Best Regards,

Ian Halliday
Consul General Dubai
General Manager – MEA, Turkey, and Pakistan
Australian trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)


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