Canada works to improve business environment for African agriculture

May 10, 2013 - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, attended the World Economic Forum on Africa, Grow Africa Investment Forum, and G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Leadership Council in Cape Town, South Africa, to promote private sector partnerships as a way to achieve innovative solutions to the challenges facing sustainable agricultural development, food security, and nutrition in Africa.

"Canada has long supported food security and sustainable agricultural development throughout the African continent and recognizes the key role the private sector plays in agriculture as well," said Minister Fantino. "One of Canada's key goals in Africa has been to create new partnerships with the private sector to drive agricultural transformation, improve nutrition, and encourage sustainable economic growth that will benefit people across Africa."

Canada welcomes a greater role for the private sector in increasing food security, complementing core public sector functions. Canada is taking an active role in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launched in 2012 by the G-8, and is a strong supporter of the Grow Africa Investment Forum and the World Economic Forum on Africa, which aim to accelerate economic diversification, boost strategic infrastructure, and unlock Africa's potential to facilitate new partnerships between African governments and the private sector to stimulate investment.

Canada remains committed to helping African people gain access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Agriculture is the engine for sustainable economic growth in many developing countries. Investments in agriculture help to provide people with a source of employment, which in turn increases food security and household income—key contributors to poverty eradication. Many of our initiatives support small-scale farmers, women in particular, to grow nutritious and diversified crops.

Canada is committed to sustainable agricultural development, especially strengthening food security and the resilience of vulnerable populations. Economic Action Plan 2013reaffirms Canada's commitment to international development investments in agriculture, food security and nutrition. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation, and help achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

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

Backgrounder

Canada in Africa: food security, agriculture and nutrition

The Harper Government is committed to improving food security and nutrition in Africa as part of Canada's effective international assistance through the Food Security Strategy. Canada's Food Security programs focus on three critical areas: sustainable agricultural development, food assistance and nutrition, and research and development. Our engagement is multifaceted, evidenced through our work with African and international partners that share an interest in improving food security.

The private sector plays a critical role in finding innovative solutions to persistent development challenges in Africa, particularly in agricultural development, food security, and nutrition. Canada welcomes a greater role for the private sector in increasing food security, complementing core public sector functions.

Canada also focuses on the central role of women in food security, given that they comprise a large percentage of smallholders. Canada supports initiatives that increase economic opportunities, strengthen economic leadership, and advance rights for women.

Canada is taking an active role in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launched in 2012 by the G-8, which aims to create new partnerships with the private sector to drive agricultural transformation, improve nutrition, and encourage sustainable agricultural growth in Africa. Canada is also a strong supporter of the Grow Africa Investment Forum and the World Economic Forum on Africa, which aim to accelerate economic diversification, boost strategic infrastructure, and unlock Africa's potential to facilitate new partnerships between African governments and the private sector to stimulate investment.

In 2012, Canada was the second-largest single-country donor to the United NationsWorld Food Programme, which dedicates more than 60 percent of its resources to work insub-Saharan Africa. Canada is also a key partner in the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, which aims to tackle undernutrition in developing countries.

Examples of CIDA programs supporting food security in Africa

  • Regional support: Canada's Pan-Africa Regional Program supports the development, dissemination, and uptake of improved agricultural technologies and practices, resulting in increased agricultural productivity and market linkages. For example, through regional cooperation and research, the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance has introduced more than 100 resistant varieties of beans to more than 7 million African households, representing about 35 million people.

  • In Ethiopia, Canada's support to the Productive Safety Net Program has helped meet the food needs of more than 7.5 million people. This innovative program, through which beneficiaries receive cash or food assistance in exchange for work on community projects designed to increase long-term food security, has been widely credited with helping to ensure that the 2011 drought did not become a crisis on the scale seen in neighbouring countries.

  • In Ghana, Canada is one of the largest bilateral donors in the agriculture sector, contributing directly to the national Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy, and to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Country Cooperative Framework. CIDA is working with partners in Ghana to help women farmers overcome constraints and become successful economic actors.

  • Humanitarian assistance: Canada continues to work with humanitarian partners across Africa to respond to the immediate needs of those affected by hunger and other humanitarian crises. For example, Canada has been one of the key providers of humanitarian assistance in the Sahel region since 2012. Canada continues to support partners who are meeting the ongoing needs of people affected by thefood and nutrition crisis. In 2012, Canada provided more than $57 million in humanitarian assistance for the Sahel.

  • Nutrition: Canada is working with key partners, such as the Ottawa-basedMicronutrient Initiative, to support the scaling up of nutrition programming in Africa. Canada's support to this organization resulted in as many as 49 million additional people consuming iodized salt in Africa in 2012 alone. Iodine deficiency in pregnant mothers is the leading cause of preventable cause of brain damage in infants, and salt is a proven vehicle for delivery of this essential mineral.