Address by Minister Paradis at a Rountable Discussion: Beyond the G8 Canada - Tanzania Partnership on Transparency in the Extractive Industry
Thank you for those kind words.
And of course, thank you as well for joining us today.
I am happy for the opportunity to speak at this event.
Transparency in the extractive sector, and the benefits it produces, is a priorty for Canada.
I have just spent the past few days in South Africa, joining a Canadian delegation at the annual Mining Indaba conference.
The message I delivered there—as I want to deliver here—is that Canada values the important role it can play in helping African countries harness the immense potential of their natural resources.
That we are in a position to make such a statement owes itself to the great success we have had in managing our own natural resource wealth.
Canada’s minerals, metals and energy have helped us build a sustainable, diversified and growing national economy.
Many of our highways, railways, and electrical and communications networks are inherent and welcome bi-products of a thriving extractive sector.
One that has not only led to the construction of critical infrastructure.
But to the emergence of innovative technologies.
And to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Today, Canada is well-known as a world leader in responsible resource development.
That is because we have done our due diligence and implemented robust strategies that support economic growth and diversification.
Strategies that promote responsible business conduct.
That ensure environmental sustainability.
And that strengthen community engagement so all stakeholders can benefit from extractive sector development.
Our extractive sector experience and diverse government, industry and civil society expertise have sustained economic growth in Canada.
And they are helping to stimulate economic activity in other parts of the world too.
At last June’s G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would partner with Peru and Tanzania as part of the G8 ‘Fast Track’ Partnerships for Extractives and Transparency.
The partnership is particularly significant here, given your country’s importance to Canadian business.
This is the fourth-largest destination for Canadian mining investments in Africa, estimated at $2.5 billion in 2012.
In addition to the mining industry, Tanzania presents opportunities for other Canadian business sectors, including oil and gas, transport and power infrastructure, and education.
Given our increasing economic ties, Canada welcomed the coming-into-force in December 2012 of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between our two countries.
The agreement marks a significant step forward for Canada-Tanzania trade relations, and can only help to further strengthen our economic relationship.
Creating conditions that attract foreign investment is critical to the good health of any country’s economy.
And it is particularly important in developing countries, where sustainable economic growth is the gateway to reducing poverty.
This means capitalizing on the resources that make us desirable trading partners.
And it means managing these resources responsibly so everyone can benefit from the gains they create.
Tanzania is making significant progress in these areas.
In fact, I want to congratulate you on your commitment to increase transparency and predictability in the extractive sector.
Such resource wealth can be transformative for a country and its people, as long as it is managed responsibly.
By this I mean in the best interests of the entire population.
And with respect for the environment from which the natural assets are drawn.
Clear and consistent mining codes and oil and gas laws, and fair and consistent taxation systems are a necessary starting point.
Likewise, respecting human rights and community concerns, and ensuring environmental sustainability are vital absolutes.
One cannot expect to reap the full rewards of a thriving natural resource economy without a clear blueprint that properly defines how to manage the resources.
Nor can one expect to make an economy flourish unless the blueprint is transparent and accountable.
Transparency helps communities ensure that mining, oil and gas revenues are spent where they are needed most.
Our support for Tanzania in this area will continue to be strong.
The multi-year, multi-stakeholder G8 Canada–Tanzania Partnership is an example of that.
Through practical, concrete initiatives developed in concert with you, we are honouring our commitment to work together to strengthen governance.
To date, our government has committed $35.7 million in funding to support programmes such as the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
And another that has been significant for Tanzania—the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency, originally announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during President Kikwete’s State Visit to Canada in 2012.
During his oil and gas mission to Canada last November, Minister Muhongo expressed a strong desire to benefit from Canada’s expertise in extractives.
Through the recently announced African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund, this will be a possibility.
The new scholarship program will provide high quality training and expose future African public sector leaders to Canadian best practices in governance, public policy, innovation and administration.
We expect the first intake of scholarship recipients in 2015.
I am also pleased to announce three more projects today that will complement the G8 Partnership’s work.
The first is the Energy Sector Capacity Building Project, designed to help the Government of Tanzania expand its natural gas sector and develop public private partnerships for power generation.
The project includes support to the Tanzanian Vocational Education Training Authority to support the training of petroleum professionals.
The second is the Improving Skills Training for Employment Project which will allow the Association of Canadian Community Colleges to assist 11 training institutions and some 1,200 Tanzanians over the next five years.
Helping Tanzanian women and men to find gainful employment and self-employment in the extractive and tourism sectors will help to reduce poverty and contribute to economic growth.
The third project is the Public Financial Management Reform Program, which will focus on making budget processes more transparent, increasing revenues and improving the management of cash flow and debt.
It will also consolidate accounting and reporting systems that comply with international standards, and improve the performance of oversight bodies, including parliamentary committees.
Canada is supporting Tanzania in so many ways because we believe in the country's immense potential.
And while the bulk of what I have said today has focused on the economics, there is an even more important side to this story.
And that is the human side.
A flourishing economy is a means to an end.
It is what will allow Tanzania to help its citizens move from poverty to self-sufficiency.
Multinationals working in developing countries do indeed bring economic benefit to governments.
But the oil, gas, metals and minerals extracted from the ground do not belong to governments alone.
They belong to all citizens.
And all citizens deserve to reap their benefits.
With jobs, education, and training.
With better healthcare for mothers and children.
And with an opportunity to contribute to—and benefit from—the economic growth that could be transformative for millions of people in Tanzania.
This is what the G8 Canada-Tanzania Partnership on Transparency is all about.
Governments, civil society and the private sector all working together to maximize the potential of Tanzania’s natural resources.
Canada is pleased to partner in these efforts.
We are committed to working with Tanzanian officials and supporting the G8 Extractives Transparency Partnership to realize these pursuits.
And I for one look forward to engaging with you to determine how else Canada can help Tanzania better use its natural resources wealth to advance its development objectives.
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