Minister Paradis concludes a productive visit in France and Senegal

November 13, 2013 - OTTAWA – The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, today concluded an important visit to France and Senegal.

In France, the participation of Minister Paradis in the 29th session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie and in the UNESCO General Conference gave him the chance at these two important forums to promote Canada’s foreign policy priorities, notably support for democracy, respecting human rights, and good governance.  

“I concluded this trip with enthusiasm and optimism,’’ said Minister Paradis. ‘‘I was able to  demonstrate, among other things, that Canada encourages sustainable economic development in order to create prosperity and increase the stability of member countries of La Francophonie.”

His trip to Senegal also proved to be very productive. Among the people Minister Paradis met were the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Macky Sall; the Prime Minister, Her Excellency Aminata Touré; and representatives from their government. Among other things, there was a discussion about the next summit of La Francophonie, which will take place in Dakar in 2014. Minister Paradis also had the chance to meet Canadian and multilateral partners, as well as members of civil society, and to visit three development projects being funded by Canada in education, micronutrients, and economic development.

Two key moments during this visit were the Minister’s participation in the official launch of the cooperation framework in support of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Senegal, and the signing of the mutual accountability framework between Canada and Senegal. This framework confirms the partnership and support offered by Canada to Senegal so that the latter can achieve its development objectives. Minister Paradis was also present for the signing of a number of trade agreements.

During this visit, Minister Paradis also highlighted Canada’s response to the situation in the Philippines. Canada committed $30,000 before the typhoon hit the Philippines so the country could prepare for this catastrophe. On November 9, when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, Canada announced an initial contribution of $5 million to aid those who were impacted. Twenty-four hours later, in reaction to the unprecedented level of destruction, Canada launched the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, which will match eligible donations made by individual Canadians dollar for dollar. Canada also deployed elements of the Disaster Assistance Response Team, and the Canadian Red Cross field hospital and emergency medical team.

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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

Canadian cooperation in Senegal

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, visited Senegal on November 10–12, 2013.

Project visits

As part of his trip, Minister Paradis visited three projects funded by Canada:

  • Elementary school in Dakar: Senegal has made education a national priority as part of its Program for Improving Quality, Equity and Transparency. Through Canadian funding, UNICEF supports the Government of Senegal and is trying to improve learning environments in 500 schools, including PAH/U 7 in Dakar, so that the most vulnerable children—especially girls—can have access to quality education. Canada is the second-largest donor to education in Senegal.
  • Economic development of Niayes support program: The goal of the Land Use and Economic Development of the Niayes Region Program is to help increase the production and marketing of onions, garlic, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. The purpose of the project is to increase the incomes of 17,000 producers—women and men—to make them effective entrepreneurs, and to protect the region’s natural resources. This $20-million project will run for nine years.
  • Micronutrient Initiative in Senegal: Senegal is a country of focus for the Micronutrient Initiative. This involves programs that include vitamin A supplementation, salt iodization, iron and folic acid supplements (primarily for women), and zinc and oral rehydration salts for the treatment of diarrhea. Also offered are community-based maternal and newborn health and nutrition services. From 2008 to 2012 in Senegal, through ongoing support from Canada, the Micronutrient Initiative provided $13.5 million in funding to support these programs.

Official launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Minister Paradis also took part in the official launch of the framework for cooperation in support of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) in Senegal. This event has special significance as Senegal became the 10th member of the NAFSN, and it was the first time that this type of launch was held in Senegal. The ceremony was held at the same time as the launch of the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System.

The NAFSN aims to support African governments to increase food security, engage private sector partners to increase investment in agriculture development, and mobilize the G-8 and other funders to promote sustainable agricultural growth. In May 2013 the Government of Senegal announced its intention to join the NAFSN, committing to the implementation of key policy reforms to help build an environment more conducive to attract investment in its agricultural sector and in the area of nutrition.

For example, the reforms include measures for increasing the share of bank loans allocated for the agricultural sector, a reduction of budgetary costs of input subsidies, definition and implementation of a seed policy, and update and implementation of the Nutrition Policy Brief.

Canada, as the G-8 lead for Senegal, played a leadership role with the Government of Senegal in developing this framework for cooperation. Senegal’s decision to join the NAFSN presents a good opportunity to engage the private sector and increase its interest in African agricultural sectors. The NAFSN also sets out private-sector investment intents in the food security and nutrition sectors for a total of nearly $400 million.

Signing of the Mutual Accountability Framework in Senegal

During his visit to Senegal, Minister Paradis also signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the Mutual Accountability Framework agreement for development cooperation between Canada and Senegal. The framework recalls the importance of Canada’s and Senegal’s shared values—such as respect for human rights, good democratic governance, sound public financial management, and anticorruption—while recognizing that Senegal remains the chief architect of its development. The framework reiterates Canada’s commitment to support Senegal in better increasing economic growth and reducing poverty, to make a real, sustainable difference in the quality of life in Senegal.

The framework indicates Senegal’s and Canada’s respective commitments, the development targets that Senegal must achieve, and the means that Canada will use to contribute to Senegal’s national development. Both countries recognize the intrinsic value of establishing sustainable cooperation, constructive dialogue, and predictability of funding. The framework monitoring and review process is also defined. Canada and Senegal will jointly assess Canadian programming, challenges to be met, and opportunities to be seized. Following this, adjustments will then be proposed, if necessary, to maximize the achievement of results.

Signing of trade agreements

Some seventy Canadian companies are active or doing business in Senegal in various economic sectors, including mining, infrastructure, energy, aviation, telecommunications, agri-food, and education. Canada ranks first in terms of gold mining investments, and is one of the top five foreign direct investors in Senegal.

During his visit to Senegal, on behalf of the Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister Paradis took the opportunity to witness the signing of the following trade agreements:

  • Opening of the first office in West Africa of rePlan, a Canadian company (based in Toronto)
  • Signing of a technical partnership between RSE Sénégal and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (national office based in Montréal)
  • Formal expression of Export Development Canada’s intent to make a $110-million loan available to Senegal for the Sambangalou hydroelectric project of the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Gambie through the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Cegertec WorleyParsons (based in Chicoutimi, Quebec)
  • Report on the first deliverable of a business contract between Senegal’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance and CRC-Sogema (based in Longueuil, Quebec) to implement the Télé-déclaration [electronic filing] module, allowing Senegalese companies to submit their income tax and value-added tax returns electronically via the Internet.

For more information on these projects and on other Canadian initiatives in Senegal, please visit the DFATD website.