Canada and Sub-Saharan Africa

Canada has cultivated relationships in Africa for more than five decades through our work with African countries and with regional and international bodies.

Canada’s priorities for Sub-Saharan Africa are:

  • providing development assistance
  • promoting democracy
  • promoting peace and security
  • increasing commercial and economic ties

Development assistance

While some African countries have made progress in reducing poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa is still home to some of the poorest people in the world. In 2010, an estimated 414 million people lived on less than $1.25 per day.

Canada focuses its international development efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa in ten countries:

Canada also works with other countries in the region, and where challenges benefit from regional approaches, we work with continental institutions such as the African Union and the African Development Bank, as well as regional economic communities (RECs).

In times of disaster, crises or severe conflict, Canada provides humanitarian assistance, as part of a global response.

Promoting democracy

Canada supports political and economic reforms in Africa that are based on democracy, strong public sector institutions, the rule of law and human rights.

We work with African countries and international organizations, such as the African Union, to strengthen democratic institutions, reduce corruption and promote transparency and accountability.

Canada helps during elections by providing support to electoral commissions, sending domestic and international election observers and supporting public education about elections.

Building partnerships

Canada is an active partner in key organizations who share common interests in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Peace and security

Canada promotes an integrated approach to security, development and regional cooperation, and we encourage this approach among the governments and partners we work with. Helping volatile areas achieve greater stability allows important humanitarian work and the delivery of international assistance to take place.

Canada helps strengthen the peace and security capacity of African countries. We provide support for training military and police forces in many African countries, both to enhance their skills and to prepare them for participating in international peacekeeping operations.

Canada is also committed to helping African countries improve their ability to combat terrorism. Our initiatives include support for training and equipment, as well as technical assistance to strengthen legal instruments, combat the financing of terrorism and increase border and transportation security.

Economic and trade relations

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund, five of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Canada is expanding its trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The Global Market Action Plan (GMAP) guides our commercial engagement in the region.

To help establish a regulatory framework that encourages trade and investment, Canada negotiates Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (FIPAs). We have concluded FIPAs with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mali, Madagascar, Senegal and Zambia.

Canada’s trade and investment goals for Africa include:

  • opening new markets to increase opportunities for Canadian exports
  • focusing on specific sectors, such as extractives and energy, to highlight Canadian expertise
  • enhancing Canada’s reputation as a world-class corporate citizen committed to sharing knowledge and expertise

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