Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Diplomatic Appointment – High Commissioner to Kenya

Media release

31 August 2010

Today I announce the appointment of Mr Geoff Tooth as Australia’s High Commissioner to Kenya. Mr Tooth will also have concurrent accreditation to Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr Tooth will as well be Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

Mr Tooth replaces Ms Lisa Filipetto who has been High Commissioner since May 2007. He is expected to take up his appointment next month.

Australia and Kenya enjoy a warm and growing bilateral relationship, which includes close cooperation in the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation.

The Governor General, HE Ms Quentin Bryce, undertook an official visit to Kenya in March 2009. Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula visited Australia in June last year.

Kenya is a leading country in Africa and has played a strong and constructive mediation role in African conflicts such as Sudan and Somalia and has participated in many UN peacekeeping operations, including in East Timor.

Australia works closely with Kenya in the African Union and the Commonwealth.

Australia’s merchandise and services trade with Kenya and other East African countries is modest but growing, with increasing opportunities for the export of Australian educational services.

Australian investment in East Africa’s minerals and petroleum resources industry is significant and there is much potential for further growth. There are more than 150 Australian companies with projects spread across 40 African countries. There is an estimated US$20 billion in current and prospective Australian investment in the African resources sector.

Australia has limited commercial interests in Kenya, but interest in the mining sector has been growing. Australian exports to Kenya in 2007 were worth over $52 million. Major export items were aluminium, civil engineering equipment and vehicle parts.

Australia is also increasing its development assistance to East African countries as part of a wider effort to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, including in food security and maternal and child health.

Australia will continue to work closely with Kenya and other countries in East Africa to tackle global challenges from security and development to UN reform and trade liberalisation.

Mr Tooth is a senior career officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Papua New Guinea and Fiji Branch.

Mr Tooth has extensive experience within the Department and has served overseas in the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea and Austria. Mr Tooth has also served as an exchange officer with the New Zealand Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Mr Tooth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Tasmania and a Masters in International Relations from Deakin University. Mr Tooth is married with two children.

Media inquiries