Eleven scholars in Western Australia jumped at the opportunity to make the most of the activities offered at the Australia Africa Week (AAW) in Perth from 4 to 8 September 2023. All scholars attended sessions and interacted with delegates at the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) Forum and the AAUN Research Workshops on the first two days of the week. Five scholars studying mining-related courses in Western Australia went on to learn from industry leaders and government delegates and build valuable networks during the Africa Down Under Mining Conference from 6 to 8 September.
According to Joiada Andriamahazo from Madagascar, a Master’s scholar in Science (Mineral and Energy Economics), ADU offered a fantastic opportunity to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and provided a platform to delve deeper into mining investments in Africa and discover the various companies operating in the region. For Joiada, his discovery that Harena Resources operates in Madagascar is a testament to the value of these on-award enrichment opportunities such as ADU.
The participation of the scholars in AAW forms part of the Australia Awards Africa On-Award Enrichment Strategy and specifically aims to build professional connections with African and Australian experts, government officials, academics, industry representatives, and other alumni. At the same time, the opportunity also offered valuable inputs for scholars to review and update their Reintegration Action Plans (RAPs) and find potential avenues of collaboration with these contacts.
“A lot of linkages were being developed and the sessions at ADU were relevant and insightful”, says Ali Seidou from Niger, a Master’s student in Science (Mineral and Energy Economics) at Curtin University.
Shontal McLintock from Palladium/Australia Awards Africa acted as convenor during the week. She made sure that the scholars optimised their networking during the formal programs but particularly at the additional networking events such as the AAUN Africa Down Under 2023 Welcome Reception, the Africa Awards Ceremony and AAMEG Cocktail Function and the Ministerial Dinner. These events were particularly helpful for the scholars.
The world came to Perth Australia to be part of the heart of the mining industry’s biggest event. It was a terrific moment to connect with people and share academic, social and cultural experiences, said Iolande Sitoe Guilaze from Mozambique.
Apart from many private sector heads of companies and organisations from both Africa and Australia, several high-level government officials such as HE Dr Mokgweetsi Keabetswe, President of the Republic of Botswana who delivered the opening address at the ADU Conference, attended Africa Down Under. The Hon. Madeleine King, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and Hon. Tim Watts, the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia were among the speakers of the three-day long ADU program.
Joiada noted that his experience stresses the importance of program-facilitated networking opportunities for scholars while studying in Australia.