Minister Fast Concludes Successful Visit to Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina-Faso, June 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today wrapped up his first visit to Burkina Faso, where he set a new course for increased engagement between Canada and the sub-Saharan African nation by deepening commercial ties.
During his two-day visit, Minister Fast launched an office of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum and announced the launch of negotiations toward a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with Burkina Faso. He also held productive discussions with Burkina Faso's Prime Minister Luc Adolphe Tiao and Salif Kaboré, Minister of Mines and Energy.
The visit follows closely last week's announcement that the two countries have concluded negotiations on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA). Prime Minister Tiao, Minister Kaboré and Patiendé Arthur Kafando, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts, were in Canada last week to attend the Conference of Montreal.
During his visit, Minister Fast also announced the Support to Women Rice Parboilers Project, a $6.04-million initiative to promote the integration of Burkinan women entrepreneurs into the local market by improving rice quality and professionalizing women's rice parboiler associations.
Minister Fast also congratulated Windiga Energy, a Canadian independent power producer, on a $50-million contract win to build a solar power plant in Zina, Burkina Faso. This project will also include a community development segment for rural electrification of a number of villages in the area.
In its 2013 Global Markets Action Plan, Canada designated Burkina Faso as an emerging market offering specific opportunities for Canadian companies. Canada is the largest investor in Burkina Faso.
Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Burkina Faso stood at $51.1 million in 2013. Canada's key merchandise exports were machinery, iron and steel products, electrical machinery and equipment, and motor vehicles and parts. Canadian merchandise imports from Burkina Faso consisted mainly of fruit, precious metals (gold) and stones, fats and oils, and oil seeds.
In March 2013, Canada concluded an air transport agreement with Burkina Faso to allow for code-shared services.
Since 2012, Canada has supported a new Government of Burkina Faso initiative called the Ten-Year Primary Education Development Plan 2011-2020. This plan aims to improve and make educational services more accessible and to develop a youth employment-training program.
Minister Fast is on a 10-day, four-country trade mission to boost Canada's trade and investment ties with Burkina Faso, Madagascar, South Africa and Tanzania.
'I'm pleased to see the rate at which our relationship with Burkina Faso is deepening. Canada welcomes the opportunity to strengthen its commercial relationships via tools such as FIPAs, TIEAs and air transport agreements to create jobs, opportunities and prosperity.'
- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade