A closing ceremony for the University of Queensland’s short course on Local economics and Social Development in Extractives, which is part of the Australian Government’s scholarship program, was held in Antananarivo on 12 October 2017 in the presence of the Malagasy Minister for Mining and Petroleum, the Hon. Mr Zafilahy Ying Vah and Her Excellency Ms Jenny Dee, Australia’s Ambassador to Madagascar.
Twenty-three participants from eleven countries including Madagascar participated in the short course which was run by the University of Queensland. While the first part of the program was held in Australia, the second part was held in Madagascar where participants were able 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 "Capacity building is crucial for socio-economic development in Africa. Through its Australian Awards program, the Australian government is targeting key sectors of the economy, offering the opportunity for African professionals to access international quality training. "
Lynda Lawson, Course Leader of the University of Queensland’s program, highlighted that the course modules were not only adapted from the Australian model but also took into account the local context of resource-rich countries such as Madagascar. "At each stage of the program, participants were called upon to apply the knowledge that they acquired in their reintegration plan from their practical work, assessments and interaction with local communities that had been impacted and professionals in the extractives sector," said Lawson.
Mrs Fenosoa Razanakolona, a Malagasy participant, said: "Through this scholarship, I have had the opportunity to learn from both the theoretical modules and the visits to mining operations which has helped me acquire new knowledge. I am convinced that Madagascar can develop and implement sustainable development through mining activities, but this requires the collaboration of all stakeholders in the sector. "
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.
12 October 2017