Canada Announces $11-Million Assistance Package for Egypt and Middle East-North Africa Region

Minister Cannon concludes successful visit to Cairo

(No. 107 - March 16, 2011 - 7 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded a successful visit to Cairo, where he announced that the Government of Canada will contribute $11 million over five years toward the creation of economic opportunities for young Egyptians and for the development of democratic institutions in Egypt and the broader Middle East and North Africa region.

"In light of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, the focus of my discussions was the situation in the region,” said Minister Cannon. "As Canadians, we cannot simply hope, we must help. We cannot simply applaud change, we must act.

"After meeting with members of the current Egyptian government, including Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby, and Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, as well as members of civil society, it was clear that providing jobs for young people and addressing unemployment are among the greatest challenges to Egypt’s economic, social and political progress.

"Today, Canada is addressing the challenge by contributing to initiatives that strengthen the business and employment skills of young Egyptians.”

"Canada is providing $10 million over five years through the Canadian International Development Agency’s Decent Employment for Youth Project, which focuses on providing skills’ training and expertise aimed at helping young people secure jobs and start businesses in such sectors as tourism and manufacturing,” said the Honourable Beverly J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation.

"Canada is also committed to supporting journalists in Egypt as they prepare to play a crucial role in the upcoming elections and referendum process,” said Minister Cannon.

"For this reason, in collaboration with Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, I am announcing a $300,000 Canadian contribution to a joint program, Media in Cooperation and Transition, that aims to build capacity in the media sector.

"As part of this package, Canada will provide $600,000 to the Rapid Responses to Violent Conflict program, part of a multi-year United Nations Department of Political Affairs appeal, and to electoral support in the region.

"We are also contributing $100,000 to Tunisia's democratic transition through the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which is providing a rapid response team of expert technical assistance on voter registration to Tunisia’s Technical Commission for Political Reform."

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Lynn Meahan
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