Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced the Australian Government will establish a new Australian embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
Funding to establish the new embassy is included in the 2012-13 Federal Budget.
Senator Carr said the embassy will be Australia's first resident diplomatic representation in French-speaking West Africa and will play an important role in strengthening our engagement with the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
"The decision reflects the growing importance of bilateral links between Australia and Senegal, and between Australia and francophone Africa more broadly.
"Expanding our diplomatic footprint in Africa sends a clear signal of the Government's commitment to building a long-term and credible Australian partnership with the countries of Africa.
"It will provide a significant boost to Australia's growing commercial and political interests in West Africa.
"Australia has substantial and growing interests in the mining and resources sector in Africa.
"At least six ASX-listed companies have projects in Senegal, largely in gold and mineral sands.
"Fundamental changes are underway in Africa as improved governance and greater political stability have taken root and the region moves closer to realising its significant economic potential," Senator Carr said.
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