Enhancing engagement in the Indian Ocean region

12 May 2023

The Indian Ocean region has the potential to be the next global economic powerhouse, and the Sid and Fiona Myer Foundation is making sure Australia does not miss this opportunity.

By funding the Enhancing Australia's Indian Ocean Engagement Project - a vital initiative that brings together leading policymakers, business leaders, and thought leaders - the Sid and Fiona Myer Foundation is enabling researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) to develop a strategy for Australia's engagement with the Indian Ocean region. Dr David Brewster, Senior Research Fellow at the ANU National Security College, is the lead researcher on the project. He says that without a comprehensive approach, Australia risks missing the next economic wave.

"In the past, Australia made a strategic decision to engage with the Asia-Pacific region and this has proven to be a great success for the country," says Dr Brewster.

"The Indian Ocean region, however, has been neglected and lacks a clear plan for Australia's engagement. The region is poised for significant growth in the coming decades, with east Africa becoming a major low-cost manufacturing hub. China is already moving their textile manufacturing to Ethiopia and this is expected to drive sustained economic growth in the country over the next 20 years."

Dr Brewster emphasises the importance of a comprehensive approach in order for Australian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities in these rising economies.

"Australia is a major Indian Ocean state with the longest coastline and the largest maritime jurisdiction of any country in the region. The country relies on the Indian Ocean region for much of our wealth, making it imperative to have a political, security, and economic strategy," he says.

The Enhancing Australia's Indian Ocean Engagement Project is the next step in finding Australia's place in an ever-changing world.

This story is featured in the 2022 Report to Donors

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