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Francophone Africa is a relative unknown for many Australians, but as this group of countries begins to take its place on the global stage, Australia should take note.
French-speaking nations make up nearly half of the United Nation’s African Bloc, an essential group in any contested UN vote and one which will be an important partner for Australia following its appointment to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Special Envoy of the Australian Government for the Francophone States of Africa and La Francophonie, William Fisher, says the legacy of colonialism has contributed to the development of these 25 countries and the way they operate. However, looking ahead he says Australia’s interests would be served by further engagement or it will miss potentially crucial economic and institutional partnerships.
According to Fisher, who spoke to AIIA researcher Nicholas Taylor, many of these countries already have a preference for Australian ingenuity as a reliable investment over Chinese operations within the mining industry.
You can watch the entire video of the interview on the AIIA website.
William Fisher is the Special Envoy of the Australian Government for the Francophone States of Africa and La Francophonie. He is a former senior diplomat. Mr Fisher is currently a visiting fellow at the College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University.