The Australian Government has achieved its target of increasing aid for trade investments to 20 per cent of the total aid budget, far earlier than our 2020 deadline. Australia's aid for trade investments represented 23.3 per cent of the total aid budget in 2016-17. Achieving the target ahead of schedule reflects our strong commitment to aid for trade as a mechanism for sustained and inclusive economic growth to reduce poverty.
The Government has now achieved nine of the ten strategic targets set out in the aid program's performance framework Making Performance Count: Enhancing the Accountability and Effectiveness of Australian Aid.
Today, we are also pleased to announce new aid for trade investments worth more than $6.5 million to help developing countries strengthen their engagement in global trade and improve livelihoods.
In partnership with World Vision, the investments will improve access to finance for small businesses in developing countries. This partnership will see more businesses succeed in increasing incomes and creating jobs among the poor.
With the expertise of Standards Australia and a network of international partners, the investments announced today will also assist developing countries to adopt new standards in digital trade and e-commerce. This will help facilitate cross-border transactions, including for small businesses.
As a priority of our Government's Foreign Policy White Paper, we are committed to using aid to boost developing countries' participation in the global economy. Trade is a driving force behind the economic growth that is estimated to have lifted more than a billion people out of poverty in the Asia-Pacific region since 1990.
Our aid for trade efforts cover regulatory reform and infrastructure, which are necessary to create an enabling environment for sustainable growth, and direct assistance to disadvantaged groups, such as the very poor in the agriculture sector and women entrepreneurs in developing countries.
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