Dispatches from Australia’s Global Network
From Chennai: new opportunities in fisheries and aquaculture
Australia's Consulate-General in Chennai is undertaking an extensive program showcasing Australian capability in agribusiness, fisheries and aquaculture management. This follows the July release of the India Economic Strategy which identified Tamil Nadu as a priority state for commercial engagement in these sectors.
Specific initiatives undertaken in the state include promoting opportunities to draw on Australia's experience in the management of waterways, recreational fishing and large fish markets. Austrade is also working with commercial boat builders in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to introduce Australian boat design capability.
Australian companies have built up a good reputation in South India and continue to actively pursue public-private partnerships in the state. Australia intends to participate in Tamil Nadu's preeminent investment promotion event – the Global Investors Meet (GIM). The GIM will bring together the Tamil Nadu Government and more than three thousand delegates from nine partner and 30 non-partner countries in January 2019.
From Kuwait City: Investments in the renewable energy sector
Kuwait is working towards a 15 per cent renewable energy consumption target by 2030 in a major shift away from its current reliance on the burning of oil, and to a much lesser extent gas, for energy generation and water desalination.
Large tenders for solar and wind projects are currently on offer and Kuwait is looking to international expertise and experience to meet its target.
The Australian Embassy in Kuwait is working closely with the Australian Business Group in Kuwait and Australian companies to promote Australia's expertise, strong track record and reliability in the renewable energy sector.
The Kuwait Investment Authority has invested in several wind energy projects in Australia in 2018, helping to expand our commercial ties in the sector.
From Perth: Third Australia-Africa Week: Bigger and Better
Eleven ministers from African countries attended this year's Australia-Africa Week (AAW) in Perth from 28 August to 1 September 2018, along with substantial delegations from a further eight African countries.
In just three years, AAW has developed into a broad platform for events promoting African-Australian research and education, women in leadership, infrastructure, and technology.
AWW's anchor event, the Africa Down Under conference, provided the opportunity to showcase Australia's extensive interests in Africa's mining and energy sectors.
Speakers highlighted the contribution of Australian mining companies to development and economic growth in Africa. They also underscored the importance of transparency and regulatory certainty to attract even greater Australian investment in Africa.
From Paris and Berlin: Blockchain - Australia at the vanguard
A healthy regulatory environment that supports and promotes innovation has encouraged a large number of companies and start-ups to trial Blockchain in Australia. This has attracted the interest of government and industry in both France and Germany, who wish to learn from Australia's experiences with real-world applications of Blockchain technology.
Australia's world-class expertise in the field is led by the work of CSIRO's data innovation group Data61.
Data61 explains that Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that connects different parties over the internet to provide a secure and trustworthy record of their transactions. It records where information has come from and gone to, opening up the potential for new economic activity in areas such as financial services, regtech, supply chains and government registries.
Australia's Embassies in Paris and Berlin used a visit by Dr Liming Zhu, Director of Software and Computational Systems Research Program at Data61, to promote Australia's expertise and forward leaning position on development of Blockchain technologies and applications, and explore potential for collaboration between our respective financial technology industries.
A key opportunity will be the Blockchain summit organised by the South Australian Government alongside the Adelaide Festival and Fringe Festival in March 2019.
From Tokyo: How ageing is changing Japan and opening opportunities for Australia
Ageing lies at the core of many of Japan's policy initiatives and is a consistent backdrop.
Japan is embracing the challenge of a rapidly ageing society with a renewed focus on expanding markets overseas and spreading risk through outbound investment, while improving productivity and labour participation at home. It is also planning for a society with a life expectancy of 100 years.
Both the public and private sectors are involved in responding to ageing. The government, motivated by a need to minimise the fiscal burden from rising social security costs, is committed to pursuing free trade and investment to secure access in foreign markets - including Australia - as population shrinkage slows down domestic demand for goods and services.
Corporations are acquiring businesses abroad and building global value chains while the Government Pension Investment Fund is taking more risk in investing overseas. Japan also aims at increasing "inbound demand" such as tourism.
Productivity improvement at home is sought through technology and innovation, with a focus on creating a 'super smart' Society 5.0. Technology is seen as a solution to labour shortages and a means to enhance the performance of humans rather than replacing them.
From Hobart: Showcasing Hobart's Antarctic Gateway
In collaboration with the Tasmanian Polar Network, Antarctic Tasmania recently released an informative and enlightening video showcasing Hobart's Antarctic Gateway.
The various business services available to international Antarctic science programs are detailed in the video, alongside introductions to Tasmania's world-leading scientific institutions involved in Antarctic and Southern Ocean research.
The video profiles the vibrant 'Polar Community' and 'Antarctic Alumni' in Hobart, including 18 season veteran researcher, polar consultant and cinematographer, Dr Frederique Olivier.
The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMRAVsIg7l8
From Jakarta: Indigenous fashion on display at premier event
Australian Indigenous art and fashion made its debut on the Jakarta Fashion Week runway in October. A unique collection by the Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair Foundation titled From Country to Couture was shown alongside designs mixing traditional Indonesian techniques and embroidered Australian flowers by Australia Awards short course participant Novita Yunus.
The show celebrated the marrying of cultures and shared heritage in the creative arts. Indonesian batik is acknowledged as the inspiration for the Indigenous Australian textile art movement in the early 1970s.
Over the last three years the Australia Awards International Business Readiness Course for the Fashion and Textiles Sector has produced more than 75 graduates, many of whom run some of Indonesia's most popular labels.
From Doha: Education opportunities
Twenty Australian universities are approved for distance education in Qatar, among a list covering Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States.
To boost student numbers to Australia, the Australian Embassy in Qatar has been working towards establishing a stronger presence at international education trade fairs. Thirty-three Australian universities are approved for recipients of Qatari Government scholarships.
Post is also working to dispel the perception of Australia being 'too far away'. Eastern Australia is no further from Qatar than the east coast of the United States.
From Canberra: New market insights
The Australian Government has unveiled a new approach to economic and commercial diplomacy including, for the first time, the release of Market Insights to assist Australian businesses considering entering new overseas markets. These narratives draw on the expertise of Australia's diplomatic network and deliver on the Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda announced in the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.
Economic and Commercial Diplomacy employs the full suite of Australia's overseas and domestic assets to advocate for an open global economy, seize trade and investment opportunities, support Australia's commercial interests and maintain and strengthen our competitiveness – all in close partnership with business.
The Market insights are available on the DFAT website.