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Newsletter 11/2014

Austrade update | Promoting MENA in Australia


October was a crucial month in promoting the Middle East and North Africa in Australia. This is the Australia end of our overarching promotional strategy for MENA.

The key event was the 2014 MENA Connection Seminars which took place from 7-18 October in major capitals and regional centres across Australia.

An important annual public diplomacy platform from MENA into Australia, we were joined by Ambassadors Pablo Kang (UAE), Neil Hawkins (Saudi Arabia), and Bob Tyson (Kuwait) to deliver:

- A program of events in 6 cities – Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra, attended by approximately 300+ delegates

- A DFAT/Austrade roundtable at Parliament House with the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP

- A plenary session on education in Saudi Arabia at the Australian International Education Conference in Brisbane

- Co-sponsored events with the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth

- A roundtable with companies hosted by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane

- Austrade and State Government Seminars on food and agriculture, mining and rail, investment and sustainable urban development.

Some of the key messages conveyed through this program were that Austrade’s focus is on the GCC + Morocco due to their strong, stable governments, large-scale investment and trade opportunities; The GCC and Australia share significant business, government and people-to-people links, supported by an ‘airbridge’ of 147 flights/week between all major state capitals and the region; Mining is a key government sector for development in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman; and Australia Unlimited MENA is our premier platform for engagement – with events being held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Kuwait across all our key sectors in April 2015.

In addition to the three Ambassadors, we also had two state government commissioners involved in our programs in Queensland and Victoria. During the MENA seminar program, on 16 October in Melbourne, Austrade also organized the inaugural Gulf Cooperation Council-Australia Trade and Investment forum. The Forum was attended by 100 business and government leaders, seven Australian and GCC Ambassadors, Austrade CEO Bruce Gosper, and the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, Minister for Trade and Investment. Supported by the State Government of Victoria, the GCC Trade and Investment Forum promoted the current trade and investment relationship between Australia and the GCC, and incorporated economic updates from both Australia and the GCC Member States. Discussions focused on strategic co-operation in trade and investment, and Australian innovation around energy, water and food security; rail infrastructure; and education and skilling. 

In less than three months, Australia is hosting the first Asian Football Confederation Cup outside of Asia, with more than 15 countries competing, 10 of which are from the Middle East including the UAE. This is the first time that the AFC Asian Cup is being held outside of Asia. Significantly, football is the only sport which links Australia to virtually all countries in Asia, where the game is a dominant force. Match Australia, the International Sports Business program for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, will leverage this platform and use this as an opportunity to build business partnerships and bilateral ties with Australia. Therefore, ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Australia, Match Australia hosted a lunch for over 60 business and government leaders in Doha on 22 October sponsored by Emirates Airline and Qantas Airways, and a dinner for a similar audience in Abu Dhabi on 2 November, to promote the program and invite a high level delegation from the region to visit Australia during the games.

The MENA Mining Show was held from 21-22 October 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. In support of exhibitors and delegates to receive the most from the event, Austrade UAE in collaboration with regional offices from Saudi Arabia, West Africa and Turkey organized a pre-MENA Mining Show breakfast briefing on 21 October. The session was attended by 35 participants who were briefed on the opportunities in the broader Middle East region, West Africa and Turkey. This regional model is proving to be a success and we look to repeat this with other delegations attending major exhibitions in DubaiIn the run up to the end of the year the focus will be on starting preparations for the 2015 edition of the Australia Unlimited program which will be held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Kuwait. Key theme in 2015 will be around innovation. I will also be visiting Morocco at the end of the month to support Australian interests in food, mining, education, infrastructure and urban development.

Yours Sincerely,
Mr. Gerard Seeber

Australian Consul-General Dubai & ABCD member

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