Our relationship with Africa

New Zealand shares strong partnerships with a range of African states, and our trade with the region has been growing strongly in recent years. Africa is undergoing a major transformation as its nations open up their extensive energy and resource markets, and economic growth brings better living standards to millions of Africans. This change presents opportunities for New Zealand and the scope to develop new connections and trade links. 

Formal connections

Formal connections with Africa are led by our diplomatic missions in Cairo, Addis Ababa and Pretoria. We have longstanding connections with Africa through the Commonwealth and our work with the United Nations (UN) of which African countries make up more than a quarter of the membership.

New Zealand also engages strongly with the African Union (AU), a group of 55 African countries that work to promote unity and coordination among countries on the continent. We've supported the development of the AU Handbook which provides a guide for people working within the AU system (member states, government officials) as well as the AU's partners and the public. New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister is a regular attendee at AU Summits.

African Union Handbook

This Handbook is published by the African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with the New Zealand Government. It is intended as a ready reference guide for people working in all parts of the AU system (Member States, government officials, Commission and other staff) as well as the AU’s many partners and wider civil society.

The book has at its heart information about the principal organs established by the AU Constitutive Act and subsequent protocols: the Assembly; Executive Council; Permanent Representatives Committee; Specialised Technical Committees; Peace and Security Council; AUC; Pan-African Parliament; Economic, Social and Cultural Council; and judicial, human rights, legal and financial institutions.

It also contains information about the specialised agencies and structures, as well as regional and other arrangements, including the Regional Economic Communities, which are the pillars of the AU and work closely with its institutions. Non-governmental organisations, inter-governmental organisations and political groups are not included, except where they have a formal agreement with the AU.

The Handbook focuses on the AU’s current structures and organs, including those in the process of becoming operational. As many of the AU structures and organs are directly inherited from its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), key details about the original OAU structures and transition to the AU are included where possible.

The Handbook project is managed by the Directorate of Information and Communication at the African Union Commission, and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Electronic copy:

Hard copy:

Within New Zealand: please email enquiries@mfat.govt.nz

Rest of the world: please contact your nearest New Zealand Embassy or High Commission.

Mobile app available to download

The AU Handbook was made available as a mobile app in 2019 to make the content more useable and accessible.  The app is now available.


When you use the AU Handbook app, some data about your usage will be recorded on the server logs.  We use this information to produce app statistics to help us improve content and navigation of the app.

The information collected is:

  • the date and time of access
  • the pages accessed and documents downloaded.

We do not use this information to identify personal details about our app users.


New Zealand exports to Africa have more than tripled in the decade to 2014, with Africa now receiving 9% of New Zealand’s dairy exports.  In addition to exports, a variety of New Zealand companies are successfully exploring service opportunities in Africa, including in education, software and mobile technology, and agriculture.  

Two-way goods trade with Africa 1994 - 2014 ($NZ millions) 

Market  1994 2004   2014
All Africa 387.8 932.1 2,454.4


109.2 583.1
South Africa 103.2 289.4 340.4


61.5 95.7 493.7
Nigeria 1.9 126.5 365.1
Morocco  46.9 114.0 172.3
Sudan  0.1 5.3 45.9
Ghana  0.5


Mauritius  27.8 29.7 80.6
Angola  2.8 6.6 46.8
Senegal  2.9 2.3 23.0


The New Zealand Aid Programme’s influence in Africa is small yet valued. We focus on four areas – agriculture, renewable energy, business, and education and training.

African students from selected countries are able to apply for New Zealand Development Scholarships which focus on agriculture and geothermal development. New Zealand also supports English Language Training for Officials (ELTO) courses to help African officials to participate in forums where English is the main language.

New Zealand is a regular contributor to humanitarian assistance programmes. Most recently this included staff and funding to support the UN response to the disease Ebola in Sierra Leone. Other recent contributions include humanitarian relief to the Central African Republic, for emergency food assistance and livelihoods support, and funding for the UN trust funds that have been established to provide support for the African Union missions in Somalia and the Central African Republic.

Media release: New Zealand steps up support for fight against Ebola (external link)

Find out more about the New Zealand Aid Programme in Africa

Embassies and consular services

African diplomatic representation in Wellington is led by the South African High Commission, which opened in 2009, and the Egyptian Embassy, which opened in 2011. Many other African states maintain diplomatic representation to New Zealand from Canberra or Tokyo.

South African High Commission (external link)

Egyptian Embassy

LocationService area
Egypt, Cairo Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia
Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
Ethiopia, African Union, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles and Uganda
France, Paris Senegal
Spain, Madrid Morocco
South Africa, Pretoria South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe