Pan Africa Regional Program

Africa’s major development challenges remain in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of the continent’s poor live. The 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa have a combined population of almost 900 million people. The gross domestic product of the region is expected to grow at an average of 6 percent each year between 2013 and 2015. Although there is considerable economic growth in some countries—mainly based on the exploitation of natural resources—the benefits of this growth have not led to significant reductions in poverty. One in two people in the region still lives on less than $1.25 a day.

Climate change continues to affect Africa more than any other region in the world. Combined with low agricultural productivity and poorly integrated markets, these conditions make Africa the most food insecure region in the world. With three-quarters of Africans living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, development of the sector is central to the continent’s economic and social well-being and transformation. Most sub-Saharan African economies are small and undeveloped, and 16 countries are land-locked, sharing borders with an average of four neighbours.

It is in this context that the African Union (AU) brings together African leaders who are committed to a peaceful, united Africa with strong social and economic development, more accountable public institutions that are integrated into the global community. This vision is outlined in the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) program. Regional cooperation and economic integration are recognized by the AU/NEPAD as being essential to Africa’s development to meet trans-boundary challenges, including sustainable economic growth and food security.

As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, DFATD has restructured and streamlined its operations and, as of April 2012, no longer supports new projects under the Central Africa Regional Program, the Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program, and the West Africa Regional Program. Regional institutions and initiatives across Africa remain eligible for Canadian assistance through a consolidated and more modest Pan Africa Regional Program.

Thematic Focus

The goal of Canada’s international development Pan Africa Regional Program is to support sustainable economic growth and food security through regional cooperation and economic integration, and it is closely aligned with AU and NEPAD priorities in these areas. Through this program, Canada supports the implementation of regional policy frameworks working closely with continental and regional institutions and partners.

Sustainable Economic Growth

The Program works to strengthen an environment that supports regional integration as well as coordinate the mechanisms needed to achieve these goals. Canada focuses its international development efforts on

  • Improving infrastructure services
  • Fostering trade through regional integration
  • Strengthening governance of the extractive sector

Selected examples of expected results

  • Strengthen capacity of three Regional Economic Communities (spanning 41 countries) trade units to promote trade within and among these regions
  • Increase the number of economically, environmentally, socially and gender-responsive regional infrastructure projects developed and implemented in the energy, transport, telecommunications and water sectors
  • Establish regional water basin management frameworks for eight Nile Basin countries, helping to create a regulatory environment that fosters basin-wide production, marketing and trade

Food security

Increasing agricultural productivity is an international development priority for the Pan African Program. These efforts include building the capacity of African regional organizations to develop and share new research and technologies that will increase yield and nutritional value of crops, and expand markets in agricultural products. Food security programming is rooted in the NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to build long-term agricultural capacity. One of the CAADP’s goals is to increase annual agricultural production by 6 percent per year in each country.

Selected examples of expected results

  • Twelve African national research institutions will work together to share knowledge and experience across Africa
  • More than 16.5 million households will use improved disease- and drought-resistant bean varieties and new farming techniques

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

In line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages), Canada works closely with the African Union to support African regional priorities and strengthen local ownership. Donors, including Canada, are finding ways to better coordinate and harmonize their efforts in support of regional institutions, using multi-donor pooled funds and improved coordination in the field.

Canada was the first bilateral donor to establish a Pan Africa Program and it has been instrumental in establishing effective regional efforts such as the Nile Basin Initiative and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. 



Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Worked with the African Water Facility to secure private funding of 295 million euros to support water infrastructure projects
  • Supported the African Trade Policy Centre to provide strategic and technical advice to the African Union (AU) Commission in coordinating the implementation of the AU’s Boosting Intra-African Trade agenda and the Continental Free Trade Area
  • Provided technical expertise to strengthen the Nile Basin Initiative institutions’ role of negotiating and securing financing for major joint investments in power projects, including regional projects in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, Kenya and Tanzania, and Ethiopia and Sudan

Food Security

  • Increased the number of platforms promoting agricultural innovations and technology (networks of researchers, extension agents and farmers seeking to develop improved agricultural value chains) from 93 to 139, directly supporting 24,000 farmers and indirectly 120,000
  • Introduced improved and marketable bean varieties, new crop management techniques and micronutrient rich bean based products for 10 million households, mostly women-led
  • Provided support to increase the knowledge and skills in livestock production and sustainable land and water management practices for 28,362 small-scale farmers and pastoralists

Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Supported the first African Trade Forum, attended by governments, academics, parliamentarians and private-sector and civil society representatives in support of  the AU’s Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade
  • Supported capacity building for national and regional institutions to enhance public/private partnerships, improve competitiveness and links to the market  within three Regional Economic Communities (spanning 41 countries in Eastern, Southern, Central and West Africa)
  • Contributed to the formation of a private-sector regional association to increase trade in livestock and livestock products within and outside Nile Basin countries, as well as Somalia and Djibouti

Food Security

  • Promoted the use of technology through the formation of an online network of more than 3,000 national partners (research, extension and civil society), increasing their access to information, knowledge and advisory services, which helped improve crop yields among platform members from 25 to 50 percent
  • Improved the management of the natural resources base through the development and dissemination of 107 technologies and innovations, resulting in better animal, crop and seed production
  • Introduced heartier and easier-to-market bean varieties, new crop management techniques and micro-nutrient rich bean-based products to 2.9 million households
  • Supported 70,420 small-scale farmers and pastoralists to improve their crop and livestock production methods and sustainably manage their land and water resources

Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Helped the Nile Basin Initiative to develop policies, strategies and guidelines to support regional collaboration, which helped secure more than US$1.1 billion in funding for irrigation and drainage, power interconnection, watershed management, flood preparedness and fisheries infrastructure projects
  • Contributed to the establishment of the African Alliance for e-Commerce, an electronic platform  to increase efficiency for traders in obtaining the clearance and permits necessary to move cargo across national borders
  • Contributed to the development of regional export strategies in priority sectors in three Regional Economic Communities that span 41 countries

Food Security

  • Increased soybean production of 150,000 farmers from an average of 900 kg per hectare to an average of 2 tons per hectare in northern Nigeria by supporting the establishment of online networks among researchers, extension agents and farmers
  • Provided support to generate 668 new technologies and innovations to improve food production, including management of the natural resource base, improved crops, animals and high quality seeds, and reduction of pests, weeds and disease
  • Supported more than 3.9 million households to access heartier, more nutritious bean seeds
  • Reached more than 5,000 small-scale farmers and pastoralist with new methods of crop and livestock production and sustainable land and water management practices