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Australia commits to stronger ties with West Africa

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The Australian Trade Commission has appointed a new trade commissioner position for Accra, Ghana, for the expansion in growth areas of West Africa. Gordon Chakaodza, the newly named commissioner, will be responsible for developing Australia's growing trade and investment ties with West Africa, and promoting Australian education and training. Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said the inaugural commissioner Chakaodza will begin work in August this year. The announcement follows the Government's decision to fund a new embassy in Senegal, and shows its commitment to the region. Last year Australia and Nigeria agreed to establish a trade and investment council to look at business opportunities in West Africa's most populous country. "Africa still faces many challenges, but the continent is entering a bright new phase of stability and growth," Emerson said. "West Africa in particular is rich in natural resources, and Australia stands ready to support countries in the region as they strive to reach their economic potential." There are currently 90 projects run by Australian resource companies in West Africa including mines, processing plants and production facilities, and investment is growing. Australia's current and projected investment in Africa is estimated at over US$50 billion. "This investment has brought benefits to local communities and comes with high environmental, health and safety standards," Emerson said. "The appointment of a Trade Commissioner to Ghana reflected expanding business opportunities for Australian companies in West Africa," said David Landers, Austrade general manager, growth and emerging markets. "Austrade is ready to help Australian companies develop their businesses in Ghana and the surrounding nations of West Africa," Landers said.

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