Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Nigeria

Media release

19 July 2010

Today I announce the appointment of Mr Ian McConville as Australia's High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with responsibility also for relations with Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Republic of the Congo, and The Gambia.

Mr McConville replaces Mr Jeffrey Hart who had been High Commissioner since February 2007. He is expected to take up his appointment this month.

Australia's relations with Nigeria remain close, based on shared democratic values and membership of the Commonwealth. Nigeria plays a substantial role in Commonwealth affairs and is a valued partner for Australia in this forum.

The most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria is also influential in regional and international affairs and has made a significant contribution to international peace and security. Nigeria and Australia have both contributed police and military personnel to the United Nations Mission in Sudan and the African Union - United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.

Australia's bilateral merchandise trade with Nigeria in 2009 totalled $302 million, with plastic plates, sheets and film Australia's principal exports to Nigeria, and crude petroleum Australia's principal import from Nigeria.

Australia is strengthening its engagement with the countries of West and Central Africa in a number of areas, including promoting economic growth and prosperity through investment and trade; accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals; and addressing peace and security challenges.

Australia's commercial relations with Africa have grown strongly in recent years, particularly in the resources sector. There are more than 160 Australian companies operating in the minerals and petroleum resources sector in Africa, including in most countries of West and Central Africa.

Mr McConville is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr McConville led with distinction the Government's response to the tragic Sundance air crash in the Republic of the Congo. Mr McConville has extensive experience in the Department and has previously served overseas as Australia's High Commissioner to Mauritius. He has had earlier postings to Cambodia and Pakistan.

Mr McConville holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, an LLB and a Master of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University and is a Barrister and Solictor of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr McConville speaks French. He is married with three children.

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