The Australian Government will help 275 African officials visit Australia next year to learn from Australia's mining experience. Western Australian Federal Minister Gary Gray announced the initiative on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd at the Africa Downunder conference in Perth. "Australia has more than 100 years of experience in attracting overseas investment to harness our resource potential and promote economic growth. We are committed to sharing this experience with our African friends," he said. "Sharing our experience can help the countries of Africa harness their natural resource wealth and attract investment for the benefit of all their peoples." More than 40 percent of Australian overseas mining projects are in Africa. Worth US$20 billion, the 650 projects represent more than 230 Australian companies across 43 countries and territories in Africa. The announced visits will include study tours, organised in partnership with the Australian mining industry and over 60 Australia Award scholarships focussed on mining governance. "Australia's relationship with African countries is being transformed by investment by Australian resources companies," Gray said. "This investment is building strong people-to-people links, bringing our governments and private sectors closer together, creating new opportunities for trade in goods and services, and making unprecedented contributions to economic growth and development."