Canada poised to strengthen economic cooperation with Africa


The Canadian government is developing a Canada-Africa Economic Cooperation Strategy to support the advancement of a robust, broad-ranging and long-lasting economic partnership with Africa, Martine Moreau, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, has said.

She explained that the strategy will be a reflection of the rapidly changing global trends driven by advances in technology such as artificial intelligence, and the massive investments in energy and mining being undertaken to enable a global energy transition; and will also entail educating Canadian businesses on existing and emerging business opportunities in Africa.

According to her, Canada and Africa share a common vision exemplified by the steady expansion of Canadian business partnerships with West Africa and the continent as a whole, detailing that while the total trade in merchandise between North American country and Africa surpassed US$15billion in 2022 – representing a 56 percent increase over pre-pandemic figures, its investments over the last 4 years have been increasing at an annual rate of 12 percent.

“More than 100 Canadian-owned companies conduct mining operations in Africa. Our development programme partnerships continue to contribute in the strengthening of many rural economies by promoting economic growth, improving health, sanitation, agricultural systems and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” she added.

The High Commissioner however registered with displeasure that despite the recent growth in the country’s bilateral trade with Africa, the continent still only accounts for 1 percent of Canada’s global merchandise trade and outward investment.

Ms. Moreau made this known while presenting her keynote address at the Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CANCHAM) Third Annual CEO’s Connect summit 2023, held in Accra under the theme ‘Financing and Growing Businesses’.

The CEO’s Connect summit, the Chamber’s signature event, aims at bringing together heads of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and large companies to brainstorm, share experiences, network and discuss the way forward from effects of the COVID pandemic. It also provides an opportunity for participants to meet with government agencies, representatives and industry players to share strategies, alternative business information to assist in decision-making.

While recognising the tremendous economic potential to be realised through implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), she noted that: “Canada strongly supports this agreement, as it will establish a continent-wide, rules-based trade and investment regime that affords significant opportunities – not only for African nations themselves, but also for external trading partners including Canada”.

Being one of the world’s top economies and a G7 nation, she averred that Canada not only has an established track record of sustainable development of its vast natural resources – including oil and gas, minerals, forests and marine resources – but also offers a wide array of solutions in resource sectors, engineering, infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, education, agriculture, clean technologies and many more.

CANCHAM’s president, Mr. Alexander Nortey, in his presentation underscored the chamber’s need to re-strategise and re-market itself by partnering with media houses to not only broaden its exposure but also broadcast its activities to a wider audience; and expressed delight that although the pandemic caused a slowdown in the chamber’s activities, its membership number has increased to over 130 over the last 3 years.

“I am elated to report that the chamber now boasts over 130 members with diverse businesses operating locally and internationally in sectors such as: information technology, construction, banking, pharmaceuticals, film and media, mining, lubricants supply and distribution, Electric vehicle manufacturing, solar distribution and installation, freight forwarding and logistics, travel and tourism, agribusiness and many others,” he added, and also said the chamber’s quest to boost intra-Africa and international trade is ongoing despite the challenges.

Worryingly, he noted that despite emitting less than 4% of global emissions, Africa loses US$7 to US$15billion a year due to climate change – citing the Sahel region which estimates US$400billion is needed to adapt to and mitigate climate issues – particularly drought caused by the actions of others as an example.

He expressed gratitude to CANCHAM’s executive and its members for their sustained efforts in fostering business connections and partnerships between the countries.

Leave a Reply