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ONE Canada Releases its Recommendations for Building a Strong Canada-Africa Strategy

OTTAWA –  On the heels of Africa Day, ONE  Canada has released its recommendations for building a strong and inclusive Canada-Africa Strategy integrating trade, investment, health, and infrastructure. 

Canada released a new and significant Indo-Pacific strategy in recent months, backed by a $2.3B investment, and it is important that we see that same emphasis, priority and financial support in a comprehensive strategy with the African continent. Canada has made some key strides in laying the groundwork for a strategy, including most recently with the launch of the consultations by Minister Ng on the Canada-Africa Economic Cooperation Strategy and in yesterday’s announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau on supporting the African Union for its participation in the G20. 

“The opportunities for partnership, trade and geopolitical relations with the African continent are massive, and many Canadian businesses and organizations are already advancing their own interests on the continent,” said Elise Legault, ONE Canada Director. “So far, Canada’s approach to developing a comprehensive strategy feels like a collection of puzzle pieces that haven’t quite been able to fit together. We hope that the launch of the Canada-Africa Economic Cooperation Strategy is the first step in establishing meaningful engagement with Africa, including Canadian support for the financing and implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”

Africa presents a trillion dollar opportunity for business, investment and trade – and a comprehensive strategy is important in progressively advancing the relationship between Canada and the continent to one as equal partners based in mutual interests and respect, and shedding colonial frameworks. 

“Major economies around the world are already pursuing the kind of comprehensive trade and investment strategy that we need to see Canada engage in. There is no situation where either economic or geopolitical progress will not be impacted by what happens on the African continent,” said Legault. 

This year, the African Development Bank has noted that Africa will outperform the rest of the world in economic growth over the next 2 years, with real gross domestic product (GDP) averaging around 4 percent in 2023 and 2024. Africa has one of the youngest populations, which is significant for labour and consumer markets, with an expected growth of up to one billion by 2030. 

ONE is making the following six key recommendations for a strong Canada-Africa Partnership:

  1. Support the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement 
    • Expand technical and financial support for the AfCFTA Secretariat to help with its implementation. 
  2. Support access for businesses and decent job creation 
    • FinDev should present a public plan on how it will contribute its fair share to the goal by G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFI) to invest $80 billion in African business by 2026, with an attached capital increase to FinDev should it be needed to reach that goal. 
  3. Build resilience to climate change and improve food security 
    • including a joint commitment to strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security, and agro-food systems in Africa, as part of the long-term vision set out in AU Agenda 2063, The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), and the existing AU AAA (Adaptation of African Agriculture) Initiative to climate change. 
  4. Invest in infrastructure 
    • Push the World Bank and other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to urgently implement the recommendations of the Independent G20 Independent Review of MDB Capital Adequacy Framework reforms and share at least 40% of Canada’s new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) with African, Latin American and Asian countries, including through the African Development Bank.  Both would be low-cost ways for Canada to support African countries to invest more in infrastructure as well as adaptation to climate change, increased food security, and stronger health systems. 
  5. Support health security 
    • Building on existing work around pandemic preparedness and resilience and including a commitment to support African capacity to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, and enhance vaccination rollout through adequate logistical chains, storage facilities, and trained healthcare providers, complementing the actions of the “AU Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and the “Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP”) and eradicating supply chain barriers and restrictions. 
  6. Knowledge diplomacy 
    • Including fostering innovative partnerships with African universities to address continent-wide challenges. For example, support the African Development Bank’s High 5s for Transforming Africa and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and advancing the integration of Africa’s higher education institutions (HEIs) in the global knowledge society by giving voice to African scientists, co-creating new knowledge, and breaking the cycle of intellectual hegemony.