[fusion_text]This evaluation puts forward a strong case for Australia to remain engaged with Asian MICs. It argues that Australia can continue to build its comparative advantage as a partner in economic and social reform. The rationale is driven by Australia’s strategic interest in supporting prosperous and stable neighbours as well as the development needs of Asian MICs.
Some recommendations include:
- DFAT should set out the long-term strategic case for development cooperation in support of economic partnerships with middle-income Asia, and how the quantum and approach to providing assistance might be expected to evolve as they develop.
- Within each of its economic partnerships with ODA-eligible countries, DFAT should:
- articulate influencing objectives and ensure that the messaging is consistent across its aid, trade and diplomatic engagements
- focus its aid for trade investments on helping partner countries to take advantage of opportunities in bilateral and regional free trade agreements
- look for opportunities to provide development assistance in sectors that offer the potential for mutual benefit, in ways that meet the conditions for good development practice
- DFAT posts should encourage more interaction among their knowledge-based programs, for exchange of lessons and experience.
- DFAT should consider establishing a multidisciplinary community of practice among staff on economic partnerships, to share knowledge and experience on engaging with social and economic policy issues.