Today I announce the appointment of Mr John Feakes as Australia’s High Commissioner to Kenya with concurrent accreditation to Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.  Mr Feakes will be Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office Nairobi (UNON), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).  He will be accredited to the East African Community and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region.

Australia has warm relationships with East African countries and we cooperate closely in the international arena.  Australia and Kenya enjoy growing commercial, agriculture, food security and mining ties, while many Kenyan students study in Australia.

Tanzania is a growing partner for Australia in tourism, education, volunteering and business, particularly in the extractives sector with multiple Australian resource investments.  Australia is a strong supporter of peace and state-building efforts in Somalia as it works to meet its Vision 2016 goals.  Australian contributions support the African Union Mission in Somalia on counter-piracy and humanitarian assistance.  Our relationship with Rwanda has built on close cooperation in the UN Security Council.  We enjoy increasing people-to-people links with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

Mr Feakes is a senior career officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Chargé d’Affaires in Jordan then Lebanon. He has served as Special Representative in Tarin Kowt, Deputy High Commissioner in Port Moresby and Minister-Counsellor in Washington.  In Canberra, Mr Feakes has led the Policy Planning and Strategic Assessments Branches.  Mr Feakes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of New South Wales and is married with three children.

Mr Feakes is expected to take up his appointment in January 2015. I thank outgoing High Commissioner Geoff Tooth for his work in strengthening Australia’s relations with Kenya and East African countries of accreditation since 2010.

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