Canada and Senegal established diplomatic relations in 1962. Since then, Canada has been represented in Senegal by the Embassy of Canada in Dakar. Senegal has maintained a diplomatic presence in Canada since 1975, through its embassy in Ottawa.
Canada's bilateral relations with Senegal are strong and wide-ranging. Senegal is a major partner for Canada within multilateral institutions, such as the Francophonie and the United Nations.
Many high-level visits in both countries have contributed to the development of the relationship. Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Senegal for the Francophonie Summit, in November 2014. In November 2013, Christian Paradis, Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, visited Senegal. In October 2012, during a working visit, the Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with President Macky Sall. Senegal also played host to the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association in October 2011. Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, paid a State Visit to Senegal in 2010.
The 2013 Global Market Action Plan (GMAP) designated Senegal as “an emerging market offering specific opportunities for Canadian companies,” one of twelve such sub-Saharan countries of focus. Canada and Senegal cooperate closely to promote peace and regional security. Both countries have participated in numerous peacekeeping initiatives. Furthermore, Senegal's armed forces are beneficiaries of the Canadian Forces Military Training and Cooperation Program.
Canada and Senegal have well-established commercial relations. Over sixty Canadian companies are active on the Senegalese market and Canadian investments in the mining sector are considerable. In 2013, trade between Canada and Senegal reached $29.4 million, of which almost $26.7 million were exports and approximately $2.8 million were imports from Senegal. Canada and Senegal signed a Double Taxation Agreement in 2001 and a Customs Duties Exemption Agreement in 2004. An Air Transport Agreement was signed between Canada and Senegal during Prime Minister Harper's visit to Dakar in 2012. Also during that visit, the conclusion of negotiations for a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) was announced with the signing of Letters of Intent. The FIPA was signed in November 2014 in Dakar, on the margins of the Francophonie Summit by Minister Paradis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal.
Canada is a longstanding partner of Senegal, with investments in aid of close to $1.2 billion since 1962. Senegal is a country of focus for Canadian cooperation. Canada’s main development objective for 2009-2014 is to increase Senegal’s economic and social development in an inclusive and sustainable manner. Canada’s current bilateral development program has two thematic priorities: children and youth (basic education and technical and vocational training) and food security (increasing incomes, ensuring access to basic foods and improving micro-financing products and services). An additional priority was added in 2014: sustainable economic growth (sound and transparent management of public funds). Gender equality, governance and the environment are integrated into all projects. Canada plays a prominent role in the donor community to ensure effective policy dialogue and aid coordination with the Government of Senegal. The programs are implemented in partnership with various multilateral organizations and over 40 non-governmental organizations, universities and colleges as well as the private sector. In 2013-2014, DFATD total disbursements to Senegal totaled $68.07 million (preliminary figures).
In 2013-2014, the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives funded two projects equivalent to $46,600 in Senegal. The first ($21,800) was for a national campaign against corruption and abnormal practices. The second ($24,800) was for a support program for 8,000 prospective women candidates in the 2014 local elections.
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