Minister Oda and Canadian business leaders work together to reduce global poverty

March 5, 2012

The Honourable Beverley J. Oda© ACDI-CIDA/CP Images/Stephanie Lake
Minister Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation at the round table event, Canada & the Private Sector, Reducing Poverty Together at the MaRS Centre in Toronto on Monday March 5, 2012

Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, held a roundtable with private sector leaders and development partners focusing on how the Canadian private sector's engagement in international development can help make Canada's international assistance more effective.

"The discussions today centered around knowledge sharing", said Minister Oda. "We exchanged views on how Canadian businesses, in tangible ways, can engage with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to reduce poverty more effectively around the world."

The Honourable Ed Fast and the Honourable Beverley J. Oda © ACDI-CIDA/CP Images/Stephanie Lake
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade & Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway listens as Minister Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation speaks at the round table event, Canada & the Private Sector, Reducing Poverty Together at the MaRS Centre in Toronto on Monday March 5, 2012

The discussions focused on the private sector's ability to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and timeliness of CIDA's development activities in developing countries. Participants discussed examples of successful, current private sector engagement initiatives between industry and non-governmental organizations and identified new, innovative opportunities to engage and help CIDA and development partners to work together.

Moving forward, CIDA will use today's discussions to inform new ways of bringing the expertise and innovative thinking of the private sector into new approaches to meet the world's development challenges.

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For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Canada and private sector engagement

Canadian firms have a strong presence internationally, across a wide range of sectors, including finance and resource sectors such as the extractive industries of mining, oil, and gas. This Canadian investment is a key driver of economic growth in many developing countries. Canadian businesses are leaders in offering their world-class expertise and socially responsible investments to support long-term sustainable development.

CIDA has over three decades of experience upon which to draw in promoting private sector development. This work aims to improve the business and investment climate and access to economic opportunities that drive private sector growth in developing countries.

CIDA is also increasingly working directly with private sector actors as partners in development. This can include partnerships with Canadian, international, or local companies to harness their efforts in order to improve the effectiveness of Canada's assistance.

Examples of private sector engagement

Canada has been internationally recognized as a leader for its work on initiatives that leverage private sector ideas and resources to find innovative solutions for global development challenges. Canada's experience includes:

  • In 2005, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Investment Fund for Africa, (CIFA) with the main objective of investing public and private risk capital in private sector businesses in order to foster economic growth and development in Africa. CIFA harnessed the potential of public-private partnership to promote development using public funds to leverage additional investments from private and third party investors. Funds for CIFA were appropriated by a special vote of the Treasury Board. This funding was not classified as official development assistance and represented incremental resources for CIDA.

  • Managed by DFAIT, the Investment Cooperation Program, formerly the CIDA Industrial Cooperation Program , supports developmentally beneficial direct investments by Canadian firms in developing countries.

  • As part of Canada's food security commitment made at the G8 Summit in L'Aquila in 2009, Canada invested in the private sector window of the International Finance Corporation's Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) ($50 million). The GAFSP uses loans, guarantees, equity investments, and advisory services to help fill a long-term financing gap faced by small and medium-sized agribusinesses and farmers in poor countries.

  • To meet Canada's commitments on fast-start financing, the Financial Mechanism for Climate Change Facility ($291.5 million) provides concessional financing and technical assistance to catalyze climate change projects in developing countries that would not otherwise happen due to market barriers preventing sponsors or other financiers from making those investments.

  • The G-20 SME Finance Challenge ($20 million), which was launched at the G-20 Leaders Summit in Toronto, solicited innovative and scalable proposals from the private sector to identify ways that governments and public institutions can be more effective in catalyzing private finance for small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

  • The Advance Market Commitment for pneumococcal vaccine program (US$200 million) was led by Canada to address a major market failure in that private sector firms had no incentive to invest in vaccines for developing countries due to the uncertainty of receiving any returns on their investment. It is estimated that the introduction of this vaccine against pneumonia will have saved over seven million lives by 2030. Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of mortality in children under the age of five.

  • Canada is currently spearheading the Agricultural Pull Mechanism (AGPM) Initiative to address food security challenges. Canada recently received public recognition from Bill Gates at the G-20 Summit in Cannes for its leadership on this initiative.