Address by Minister Paradis: Reception for Canada's Partners at the Official Residence Dakar, Senegal

November 12, 2013 - Dakar, Senegal

Thank you, Ambassador.
Good evening, Ministers,
Elected officials,
Representatives of international organizations,
Canada's partners in Senegal,
Dear friends.

I am delighted to be here with you and to tell you just how rewarding and productive this trip has been.

Because of our close ties and common values, we have built a solid foundation.

A foundation that allows us to continue our development work, particularly in the areas of:

  • food security and nutrition;
  • education;
  • sustainable economic growth; and
  • good governance.

These are priority areas for Canada and for Senegal.

I would like to begin by telling you that I was very impressed with the projects I visited.

In Dakar, I visited a primary school and had the pleasure of talking with some students, who spoke to me about the importance of having new textbooks.

I am especially proud of Canada's contribution in this area.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with farmers who are producing, processing and selling their products, with great success.

These farmers are part of a group that is helping to make agriculture the driver of Senegal's economic growth.

Lastly, I visited a project that focuses on providing micronutrients.

These dietary supplements are essential to ensuring that children grow up healthy and to improving their quality of life.

Each of these projects, and all of the others that I did not have time to visit, are one more piece of the development puzzle.

I would like to sincerely thank all the partners, Canadian and Senegalese alike, from both the public and private sector, who are making these projects possible.

There is a Senegalese proverb that says "Mbollo Moy Dollé"—"Unity is strength"—and the development work we are doing together is proof of that!

And Canada will continue to work with Senegal in this area.

This morning was the official launch of the New Alliance Cooperation Framework, which is a turning point for all of Senegal's people.

It is one more step toward ensuring that prosperity is distributed equitably.

Canada is proud to have supported Senegal, as did the other G-8 countries, as it took steps to join the New Alliance.

Another piece of the development puzzle: the mutual accountability framework, which I just signed with the Minister of Economy and Finance, who is here this evening.

The framework is not a mere formality; rather, it is about the spirit in which we work together.

The accountability framework strengthens our trusted relationship and seals our commitment to providing millions of people with concrete assistance to lift themselves out of poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, it was interesting for me to note the growth of our economic exchanges, including a dozen economic missions in both directions in recent years.

I also witnessed the conclusion, in 2012, of negotiations that led to two bilateral agreements.

The first dealt with air transport (ATA), and the second focused on foreign investment promotion and protection (FIPA).

Thanks to our efforts in the areas of corporate social responsibility and sustainable economic development, this growth has translated into such things as:

  • a commitment from 70 Canadian companies and private stakeholders to increase business relations;
  • Canadian investment in Senegal of more than 750 million dollars;
  • the 900 Senegalese citizens who are studying in Canada and who will act as a bridge to strengthen our partnership in the future.

As I have said many times since arriving here, Senegal and Canada have developed close ties of cooperation and friendship.

We share not only the values of progress and development, but also the values of La Francophonie.

As you know, I am also the Minister for La Francophonie.

And so, I am pleased to confirm that Senegal will be able to count on Canada's assistance as it prepares for the next Francophonie Summit, which will be held in Dakar in 2014.

Our support will focus on logistical assistance and the political component, and I am already looking forward to coming back to Dakar a year from now.

I am sure that the event will be especially emotional for Senegal.

Not only will the Summit be returning to Dakar, but it will also be hosted in the birth country of one of its founding fathers, President Léopold Sédar Senghor.

The Secretary General of the IOF, His Excellency President Abdou Diouf, will be wrapping up his term, having successfully fulfilled, on behalf of all IOF member countries, his mandate to advance the organization.

Senegal is a model of democratic maturity that contributes to peace and stability in the region, and we are grateful for that.

Thank you—Dieu-re-Djeff —and I look forward to seeing you again this time next year!