We had our 2019 Annual General Meeting on 24 OCT 2019 at the ICH. 20+ members were presented and we celebrated an another year of fulfillment. Here is the full statement from the President:
The AACC is a national body whose fundamental objective is to facilitate two-way trade and investment with Africa.
As reported at the AGM last year 2018 saw the establishment of three important building blocks to give real relevance to this objective.
First, we formalized a Partnership Agreement with the longstanding Business Council for Africa who in the course of those negotiations merged with Invest Africa.
The combined organisations have brought together Invest Africa’s high-level connections with the BCA’s on-ground network across Sub Saharan Africa that had been developed over sixty years.
Second, we initiated discussions with Austrade to look to complement their market reach into Africa. This stemmed from our concern that whilst Austrade had fourteen regional websites none covered Africa and the website coverage of Africa had not been changed for three years.
This shortcoming underscored the dated and inadequate communications that existed which has now lead to the decision by Austrade to develop a digital platform.
The AACC will, in turn, adopt that architecture to enable a seamless exchange of information.
As such, we now have an understanding that the AACC will be the conduit to Africa for Austrade.
Thirdly, We approached the organisers of IMARC with the suggestion we create an Africa Day in Focus.
We recognised that whilst IMARC provided a major platform for Mining and Resource related companies that the very activity of the Australian companies involved in Africa was an all-important enabler for other main sector developments – in Infrastructure, Energy and Renewables, Agribusiness, Education and Healthcare.
Our Africa Day in Focus was an unqualified success and we are presenting the Africa Day session on Day One of IMARC next Tuesday 29 October. For those of you who have not yet booked to attend you can do so via our website and receive a 10% discount on the ticket type that you choose.
From this base, we then fleshed out our offerings to Members in 2019.
It created the Year of Momentum.
It entailed a number of Roundtables with Africa based DFAT High Commissioners and Ambassadors, Forums and Presentations all of which have provided opportunities for member networking.
A Highlight of the year was the Why Africa National seminar series which we hosted in conjunction with Africa based Trade Commissioners for Austrade, Heads of Mission in Africa for DFAT and the senior Director of Export Finance Australia at which we provided updated briefing on market trends, insights and market opportunities across Africa. In doing so we also had the support of Dentons – the world's largest law firm - and KPMG. The roadshow took in the first half of September and commencing in Perth at Australia Africa Week then Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and finally Melbourne where we had 156 people attend here at ICH. It was a singular success and we have already been asked to undertake it again in 2020.
Following IMARC we are hosting a Ministerial level trade and investment forum from Nigeria at ICH on Monday 25 November. We are advised that the delegation will be composed of seventy senior persons and invitations to attend this event will be issued shortly.
It will be followed by site inspection visits the following day to pursue specific sector objectives.
We have continued to pursue new partnerships and alliances and to that end will be offering Members a range of opportunities to support their business goals. These include:
Participation at Mining Indaba – Cape Town 3-6 February
Africa CEO Forum Adijian Cote d Voire 9-10March
Africa Financial Services Investment Conference – AFSIC- Investing in Africa – London 5-7 May
CHOGM Rwanda – June 18-24, 2020
However, the announcement by the African Union promises to transform our interaction with Africa with the confirmation of the agreement by all African nations to proceed with the Continental Africa Free Trade Agreement.
Agreed in principle in Kilgali in May last year it has since been ratified in July of this year and Accra in Ghana has been chosen as the Secretariat to implement the agreement.
This will in turn create the worlds largest free trade zone with an initial agreement that the participating counties will lower their tariff barriers by 90%.
It will also offer great opportunities for other countries such as Australia to take part.
Already the USA has in place a major programme called Prospa Africa, the British Department of International Trade along with the French, the Germans Indians and Japan and most recently Russia are all active - not ignoring the massive Chinese presence with their tied aid programmes.
It is in effect a new scramble for Africa.
Our ability to best meet this and other opportunities has had us bolster our own resources.
Global Victoria provided us with our own office within ICH as of 01 July and we have since put in place key staff to cater to these developments.
Lead by Operations Manager Ivy Wang we also have Josh Denley and Okwy Okeke as Volunteers along with an Intern providing the all important back office assistance.
But such support needs to become full time with consequential impacts on our Funds.
As our Treasurer will report we have managed with appropriate tight and prudent care to keep the overall corpus intact basically through the upsurge of member subscriptions. Naturally we look forward to having more individuals and companies join us but the real need is for consequential corporate support.
To that end we have drafted a Partnership programme which when agreed we will take to that market to secure a sustainable cash flow to enable us to operate in what could best be described as steady state.
I and my Committee would welcome your direct support and will look forward to progressing this with you.
Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce