A closing ceremony for the University of Queensland’s short course on Local Economics and Social Development in Extractives (LESDE), which is part of the Australian Government’s scholarship program, was held in Antananarivo on 27 September 2018 in the presence of the Malagasy Minister for Mining and Petroleum, the Hon Mr Henry Rabary-Njaka and Her Excellency Ms Jenny Dee, Australia’s Ambassador to Madagascar.
Twenty-nine participants from ten countries (Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Madagascar) participated in the six-week course run in Australia, then Madagascar. The African component enabled participants to discover the country’s mining sector and better understand the challenges of this sector in Africa.
In her speech at the closing ceremony, Ambassador Dee said "Recognising that human capital is critical to sustainable economic development, the Australian Government continues to build capacity of African professionals in priority fields of agriculture, extractives and public policy through its flagship Australia Awards scholarship program.”
Lynda Lawson, Course Leader of the University of Queensland’s program, highlighted that the LESDE course modules are an authoritative program designed to harness knowledge and experience to answer the question: How can the extractive industries be used to leverage and promote development?
“Developed and delivered by the University of Queensland, for 4 years it has worked with over one hundred extractive industry professionals from across Africa. Time and again, Awardees testify that the course was a springboard to their professional promotion and acceptance into prestigious further education opportunities. It has pioneered the use of an extended in country case study of the extractive industry in Madagascar. On behalf of LESDE 2018 we thank Madagascar and its people and extractive industries for hosting us so graciously," Ms Lawson said.
Commenting on his Australia Awards experience, Martino Noely from Madagascar said: “The visit to Australia has been a life changing experience for the group. We learned and have seen the extractives sector’s economic contribution in countries. We saw the sense of partnership among stakeholders concerning shared vision and shared value. The AAA program is a well-designed program combining academic work and field visits relating to the topic. It's an opportunity to have an overview of Australia’s experience and compare this to African perspectives.” Romaric Ouabo from Cameroon said : “The Australian awards has been a great learning experience for me. From Brisbane to Madagascar passing through Central Queensland, I have learnt the essential skills that are going to help me to contribute to the change that is needed in the extractive sector in Cameroon and Africa.”
Calls for applications under the Australia Awards program (www.australiaawardsafrica.org) are currently open. Malagasy professionals can apply for Masters and short courses in the areas of Public Policy, Extractives and Agriculture. Qualified women and people with disability are encouraged to apply.
27 September 2018