Harper Government Launches Investment Talks with Benin and Burkina Faso

A more predictable and stable investment environment in Africa will contribute to jobs and growth for all, says Minister Fast

May 30, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the launch of negotiations toward foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) between Canada and both Benin and Burkina Faso.

“When I met with the heads of African missions to Canada several months ago, I promised that we would intensify our engagement with and commitment to Africa,” said Minister Fast. “That is why I am very pleased to demonstrate this commitment by announcing that Canada has officially launched FIPA negotiations with both Burkina Faso and Benin.”

African countries are among the world’s fastest-growing economies. Last year, GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa exceeded 5 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. Similar growth is expected this year and the next.

Foreign investment promotion and protection agreements help Africans and Canadians alike to invest with greater confidence by providing a more transparent, stable and predictable investment environment.

“These agreements will help attract more Canadian investment to Benin and Burkina Faso, while strengthening economic growth and opening new markets for Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses,” said Minister Fast. “At the same time, we will provide new hope and opportunity for the people of Burkina Faso and Benin.”

In addition to an existing FIPA with Egypt, Canada has concluded negotiations with Madagascar and Mali.  We’re also in active negotiations with Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia. As part of its process when negotiating these FIPAs, Canada consulted with a variety of stakeholders. In addition to investment agreements, Canada is currently in negotiations toward a free trade agreement with Morocco, its first with an African country.

“Over the course of the last 50 years, one constant has remained: democracy, security and prosperity are all intrinsically linked,” said Baird. “Canada and African countries will continue to be important partners in expanding each of those three things.”

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and sub-Saharan Africa has never been stronger, standing at $10 billion in 2011—compared to $7.8 billion in 2010 and $5.3 billion in 2009. Opportunities for Canadian businesses exist in Africa in sectors such as telecommunications, agriculture, energy, transportation, infrastructure, natural resources and education.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332
adam.taylor@international.gc.ca

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