Harper Government Committed to Opening New Markets in Africa

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan highlights new opportunities for Canadian business in Africa’s emerging markets

(No. 103 - March 15, 2011 - 1:40 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today discussed Canada-Africa trade and commercial partnerships at the Africa Rising: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Frontiers conference in Toronto. During his speech, Minister Van Loan highlighted the role that Canada’s businesses and entrepreneurs can play in supporting economic growth in Africa.

“Canada has emerged as a global economic leader,” said Minister Van Loan. “Canadian businesses offer expertise in key economic sectors in Africa. Canada is already the largest foreign investor in Africa’s mining industry, and our businesses are well positioned to take on a leadership role in Africa’s economic development in the years ahead.”

The Harper government is committed to strengthening Canada’s commercial ties with Africa and expanding our trade with the continent. Canadian companies have the expertise to take on a leading role in developing key sectors in Africa, such as telecommunications, agriculture, energy, transportation, infrastructure, natural resources and education. In 2010, bilateral trade with Africa reached almost $13 billion, a 72.5-percent increase over the previous five years.

“Our government is focused on economic recovery and opening new markets to create opportunities and jobs for Canadians,” said Minister Van Loan. “We are committed to an ambitious free trade and investment agenda that includes discussions with close to 50 countries. This includes recently launched free trade negotiations with Morocco.”

On January 27, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced free trade negotiations with Morocco. This would be Canada’s first free trade agreement with a country on the African continent, and would serve as a gateway to Mediterranean and North African markets.

The Africa Rising: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Frontiers conference brings together leaders in business, science and government to explore key aspects of Africa’s economic growth: business development, growth sectors, financing, commercializing research, new development models, information and communications technologies, natural resources and infrastructure.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304
monika.bujalska@international.gc.ca

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000