Minister Fast Highlights Trade and Investment Ties with Africa / Opening new markets to boost Canadian exports is key to creating jobs and opportunities for hard-working Canadians in every region of the country
OTTAWA, Canada, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today called on Canadian businesses to seize the opportunities that more trade and investment with emerging markets in Africa offers. In his address to Canadian and African businesses, non-governmental organizations and African government representatives during the Canada-Africa Business Summit in Toronto, Minister Fast pointed to the long-standing trade, investment, development, education and cultural ties between Canada and African countries that continue to foster economic success.
Canada's commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development is an important element of our engagement with Africa. This includes supporting the Canadian extractive sector in its responsible and transparent operations in Africa and working with host countries to develop capacities to manage their natural resources.
During his trade mission to Africa in June, Minister Fast announced that Export Development Canada is expanding its presence at the Canadian embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing on-the-ground support in southern Africa and assisting Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in boosting their exports.
Under the Global Markets Action Plan, the Government of Canada is committed to providing the tools to help businesses succeed, including free trade agreements, foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) and air transport agreements. Canadian businesses can also count on the support of the Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, with trade commissioners serving Canadian business needs in 16 African countries.
• The International Monetary Fund expects the sub-Saharan economy to grow by 5.4 percent in 2014 and by 5.5 percent in 2015.
• Canada's bilateral trade with continental Africa was $13.3 billion in 2013.
• As part of its plan to promote and protect Canadian investments in sub-Saharan Africa, Canada has FIPAs in force with Benin and Tanzania; has signed agreements with Cameroon and Nigeria; and has concluded negotiations with Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Zambia. FIPA negotiations are under way with Ghana and Kenya.
• Minister Fast has led three trade missions to Africa over the last three years, visiting eight countries.
“Increased trade and investment is transforming countless lives and communities across Africa, just as it is creating jobs and generating economic growth in Canada and African countries alike. We are committed to opening new markets for our exporters and ensuring that Canadian companies, especially SMEs, take advantage of the opportunities our ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan creates for them. Our FIPAs and sector-focused trade missions, along with help from our trade commissioners and close cooperation with Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, are part of the many ways we are supporting Canadian SMEs as they grow, expand and succeed around the world.”