Minister Paradis to promote economic growth and Canadian values in France and in Senegal

November 6, 2013

OTTAWA — During his visit to France and to Senegal on November 7–12, 2013, Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, will use Canada's leadership role in La Francophonie to promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

In Paris on November 7–9, Minister Paradis will take part in the 29th session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (in French). He will promote an economic initiative within the organization, and will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from member countries of La Francophonie. The Minister will also deliver a statement from the Government of Canada at the General Conference of UNESCO, a body of which Canada remains an active and engaged member.

"Canada plays a leading role in La Francophonie, an organization that is essential for promoting our Francophone culture and heritage," said Minister Paradis. "Our government will continue to promote sustainable economic growth as the best tool for reducing poverty, improving equality between women and men, and creating prosperity."

The Minister will then visit Senegal on November 10–12, where he will meet with representatives of the Government of Senegal, Canadian and international partners, and local organizations to talk about Canada’s development program. The Minister will also pay a visit to development project sites funded by Canada to see the results. During his visit, the Minister will focus on food security, the role of the private sector in agricultural development, and the mutual reinforcement of the prosperity agenda of both countries.

This trip will enable Minister Paradis to make the most of important forums for member countries of La Francophonie. It will allow him to highlight Canada's contribution to improving the lives of French-speaking populations around the world, particularly Canada's ongoing commitment to supporting Senegal in its sustainable development efforts in order to improve the quality of life of all Senegalese.

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For more information, media should contact:

Margaux Stastny, Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: margaux.stastny@international.gc.ca
Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Telephone: 819-995-1874
Email: media@international.gc.ca 
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATDCanada

Backgrounder

Canada continues its commitment to the development of La Francophonie countries

Canada and La Francophonie

Canada was one of the first countries to promote La Francophonie by helping to establish and develop its institutions during the 1960s. Today, Canada is the second-largest donor to La Francophonie.

La Francophonie is a network of member states and governments that share the use of French as a common language. Its mandate is political, but it also focuses on development. It has the following objectives:

  • Promote the French language, and cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • Promote peace, democracy, and human rights;
  • Support education, training, higher education, and research; and
  • Strengthen cooperation to promote sustainable development, solidarity, and economic growth.

Achievements

From 2010 to 2013, La Francophonie, with the support of Canada and other contributors:

  • supported electoral processes and strengthened constitutional law in 15 countries primarily in sub‑Saharan Africa; it also supported crisis exit strategies in Côte d'Ivoire, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Chad, Tunisia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau by contributing directly to the transition to democracy process;
  • helped strengthen the capacities of 27 countries to take part in Universal Periodic Review cycles of the United Nations Human Rights Council;
  • provided support for the training of more than 9,000 primary school teachers and 550 instructors and supervisors, and of 6,700 people involved in the production and dissemination of French‑language digital content and applications in order to provide children with access to quality education without gender disparity;
  • supported the efforts of 19 countries to develop national sustainable development strategies (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Tunisia, St. Lucia, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Comoros, Togo, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Vanuatu, and Senegal);
  • disseminated specialized information on sustainable development through the Médiaterre information system, which is now the leading French-language site for the dissemination of sustainable development information and consulted by 4.5 million people in 147 countries;
  • Supported, on behalf of women's organizations in 32 countries, 15 support and capacity‑building activities for combating violence against women;
  • helped 23 countries strengthen their ability to develop and implement trade policies; all recipients have set up mechanisms to monitor national policies; and
  • established new centres for reading and cultural activities called CLACs in Comoros and in Mali, bringing their number to 295 worldwide—primarily in Africa; each year, the entire CLAC network enables three million young people to have access to reading and knowledge primarily through books and films, and to attend occupational training workshops.

Canada is a partner in Senegal's development

Canada is the second largest donor in the field of education in Senegal. To help children and young people in this country, Canada has helped to:

  • establish 3,500 new primary schools between 2000 and 2010, a 42-percent increase in the number of schools, thus making it possible for 587,295 additional students to attend school, a 50-percent increase;
  • train 23,900 preschool and primary school teachers;
  • support programs to improve the quality of education in 500 schools for the benefit of 75,000 students, 36,000 of them girls;
  • increase overall enrolment in primary schools to 93.9 percent in 2011, an increase from 72.2 percent in 2000;
  • provide support for the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria between 2002 and 2012, which consisted of providing treatment to fight HIV/AIDS for 7,200 people, detecting and treating 19,000 cases of tuberculosis, and distributing 1.4 million insect-repellent-treated bed nets to prevent malaria;
  • increase the percentage of those graduating from primary school from 59.1 percent in 2010 to 66.5 percent in 2011 by increasing the number of schools, teacher‑student ratio, and number of textbooks and desks, and by making the learning environment healthier by improving sanitary and water supply facilities; and
  • translate 41 textbooks into local languages for 104,000 girls and boys in primary schools.

Canada continues to note with satisfaction the growing number of children, particularly girls, who are obtaining access to school. Canada also commends Senegal's commitment to improve the quality of its national education program by carrying out pilot projects.

To increase food security in Senegal, Canada's contributions in 2011–2012 made it possible to:

  • increase the number of people using microfinance loans from 712,500 in 2005 to 1,620,000 in 2011, 44 percent of them women;
  • set up 50 new cereal banks serving 81,000 people, 30 percent of them women, thus making it possible to store grain until prices increase; and
  • help agricultural producers when 2,147 farmers on 429 hectares of land switched their crops to rice cultivation, directly benefiting 12,884 households.

In June 2013, Canada stated that it would help Senegal become a member of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The NAFSN will help Senegal increase the development of the agriculture sector to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.