Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Mr Jon Richardson as Australia's next High Commissioner to Nigeria, with non-resident accreditation to: the Republics of Benin, Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger and the Gambia.
Mr Richardson is expected to take up his appointment in January 2013, replacing Mr Ian McConville.
Mr Richardson is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and has previously served as High Commissioner to Ghana and Director of the Africa Section in DFAT. He was most recently Director of the Department's Resources and Business Liaison Section, representing Australia in such bodies as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process on conflict diamonds.
Mr Richardson has also served as Counsellor at the Australian High Commission in London, working on African and Commonwealth issues, and at Australian Embassies in Moscow and Belgrade.
Mr Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from the Australian National University and a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College in the UK. He speaks French and Russian.
Australia's bilateral relationship with Nigeria has expanded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral issues in 2012, including an agreement to hold regular Senior Officials Talks.
Nigeria is Australia's second-largest trading partner in Africa, with annual two-way trade valued at around $2 billion. The trading relationship is dominated by Australian resource imports from Nigeria and involvement by Australian companies in mining operations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, The Gambia, Niger and the Republic of Congo.
Australia provides development assistance to Nigeria in the form of scholarships and training opportunities in health, education, agriculture and mining.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation and its second-largest economy. It houses the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and is the fifth-largest contributor of personnel to UN peacekeeping missions around the world.
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