NEW YORK, October 20, 2009
Canada is pleased once again to join this debate. Africa, as we all know, is a continent of vast richness in its cultures, diversity, resources, and experience. In our view, many African countries have made important progress in recent years, and significant parts of the continent are moving in the right direction. We have seen more free and fair elections, more prudent economic management, with more reform-minded and democratic leadership.
Africa continues to face major health, education, agricultural, environmental, and peace and security challenges. Much remains to be done to assist African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and to build stable political and economic institutions. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is a shared responsibility, based on commitment, partnership, and perseverance.
Canada is doing its part to help Africa achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Canada met its G8 commitment to double aid to Africa from 2003-2004 levels to $2.1 billion. Furthermore, Canada reaffirmed its commitment to double international assistance by 2010-11 from 2001-2002 levels. This will bring Canada’s total international assistance to approximately $5 billion. As part of the joint G8 pledge on food security, Canada will more than double its investment in food security and provide $600 million in increased funding over three years, reaching $1.18 billion in overall funding. Canada has untied all its food aid and has committed to untie all bilateral assistance by 2013. Not only will this improve aid by increasing its impact, it will enable us to respond better to the needs of developing countries.
In response to the African Development Bank’s forecast of a shortfall of resources over the next year, Canada announced at the last G20 summit that it will temporarily triple its callable capital. This initiative will provide the Bank with about USD$2.6 billion in additional capacity. Canada's response recognizes the efforts by the African Development Bank to ensure that it has sufficient resources with which to respond quickly to the demands of its borrowing members while it continues its poverty reduction efforts.
Private sector expansion is an important component of overall development. Canada is a significant economic partner for Africa, with more than 290 Canadian companies operating in at least 36 countries. Canada is the largest non-African foreign investor in mining in Africa, with cumulative assets of more than $20 billion, covering approximately 1,000 properties in 35 countries, and often playing a significant role in the development of the mining industry in those countries. Canada encourages and expects Canadian companies to meet high standards of corporate social responsibility.
Democratic and effective governance are key to the success of African socio-economic development. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) are vehicles to help achieve this goal through the creation of an enabling environment for stability and socio-economic development. Canada strongly supports the NEPAD and considers the APRM initiative vital to the overall success of Africa’s development. Canada strongly supports the NEPAD and considers the APRM initiative vital to the overall success of Africa’s development. Canada welcomes the progress made by African countries in the implementation of the APRM. Twenty-nine countries have already signed on, and nine have completed the review process. Canada was among the first donors to support the APRM and has contributed almost $6 million to the UNDP Trust Fund.
Canada has also maintained a strong commitment to regional and multilateral initiatives to advance global malaria prevention and control efforts. In 2008, Canada pledged an additional $450 million over three years to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, bringing Canada's total commitment to $978.4 million. Approximately one-quarter of these funds are channelled towards malaria. Since 2003, the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) support for the prevention of malaria has resulted in the distribution of over 7.9 million bed nets in Africa through partnerships with the Red Cross, UNICEF and World Vision Canada, and $60 million to increase access to treatment at the community level for malaria and pneumonia, two of the leading killers of children worldwide. It is conservatively estimated these two programs will save over 250,000 lives.
Canada has long been engaged with our African counterparts in finding durable solutions to protracted conflicts across the continent, both through direct bilateral counterparts and through our engagement in support for African institutions such as the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, and SADC. We are pleased with the leadership roles that these institutions are assuming to deal with crises in the region. To cite but one recent example, ECOWAS and the AU have been co-leading the International Contact Group addressing the situation in Guinea.
In Sudan, the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis in Darfur have become perennial issues on the UN Security Council’s agenda, while growing insecurity, particularly in Southern Sudan, is of mounting concern as critical milestones of the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), such as Sudan’s 2010 elections and a referendum on Southern secession in 2011, approach. A return to civil war in Sudan must be avoided.
Since 2006, Canada has contributed over $647 million in support of peace and humanitarian objectives in Sudan, including support for CPA implementation and the Darfur peace process. Our support has included partnering with African countries contributing personnel to Sudan’s two UN Security Council-mandated peacekeeping missions: the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), in Southern Sudan, and, in Darfur, the hybrid AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and its predecessor mission, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).
In the Great Lakes region, Canada views the resolution of ongoing, complex and interlinked conflicts as key to building long-term prosperity and development. As co-chair of the Group of Friends with the Netherlands, Canada supports the process of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in its goal to implement durable solutions to regional challenges of peace, security, stability and development.
Peace and prosperity in the Great Lakes Region cannot, however, be accomplished without addressing the on-going conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly eastern DRC. Canada currently has 12 Canadian Forces officers fulfilling key roles in MONUC, the UN mission to the DRC, and has provided over $98 million for humanitarian and development assistance since 2006.
Canada has been actively involved in efforts to bring stability and humanitarian assistance to Somalia. Canada participates in the International Contact Group on Somalia and has provided over $65 million in humanitarian assistance since December 2006 to help respond to the urgent needs of Somalis as well as of Somali refugees in Kenya. In response to pirate attacks against aid vessels off the coast of Eastern Africa, Canada will once again be deploying a navel vessel to the region this November for a six month tour of duty.
Africa has achieved much success over the past few years. We, Canadians, join our African partners in celebration of this progress. The African continent is an area of great promise and potential. Through co-ordinated African-led commitments and partnerships, this potential is being realised.
Canada will continue to contribute to resolving the challenges faced by Africans and do its part in working towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.