Development Assistance

Recent economic performance in Asia has resulted in considerable poverty reduction, but the region still contains two thirds of the world’s poor. More than 800 million people in Asia live on less than $1.25 per day and remain particularly vulnerable to economic shock and the region’s frequent natural disasters. Developing countries in Asia face a number of challenges including large numbers of unskilled and under-employed members of the workforce, inadequate infrastructure, and weak institutions for supporting market economies, attracting foreign investment and combating corruption.

Canada’s development assistance program in Asia began in the 1950s and remains an important component of our engagement in many developing Asia-Pacific countries. From our early support to help countries to meet basic human needs, Canadian assistance has evolved to provide targeted technical assistance to support institutional reforms necessary for sustainable economic growth. Today, Global Affairs Canada programs help Asian nations develop their capacity to address the continent’s most pressing challenges: reducing poverty; consolidating economic gains; and strengthening governance, political inclusion, social development and environmental protection.

Global Affairs Canada maintains an active development assistance presence in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as across southeast Asia. Canada also supports multilateral and global programs in Asia, as well as Partnerships with Canadians Programs. In fiscal year 2011-12, Canada provided approximately $1 billion in official development assistance to countries in Asia.

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