Promoting Economic and Commercial Engagement

The economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa is tremendous. Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), five of the world's 20 fastest-growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa, with expected growth of more than 5 percent in 2014 and 2015.

Canada is strengthening economic ties with Africa by expanding its trade and investment in the region, supporting the prosperity of both Canadians and Africans. The Global Market Action Plan (GMAP) guides Canadian commercial engagement in the region, identifying 11 priority emerging markets with specific opportunities for Canadian business and one priority established market with the best potential for broad Canadian commercial interests (South Africa). The priority markets in sub-Sahara Africa include:

Trade in services and the following sectors are key area of focus for Canada in Africa:

Canada's Role

Important to advancing trade initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa is the establishment of a regulatory framework under which trade and investment can flourish. To accomplish this objective, Canada has entered into Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (FIPAs) with a number of African countries, establishing a bilateral agreement that protects and promotes foreign investments. Canada has concluded FIPAs with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mali, Madagascar, Senegal and Zambia. Canada is also engaged in ongoing FIPA negotiations with other African countries, including Ghana, and Kenya.

Canada objectives to promote trade and investment in Africa also include:

  • Opening new markets to increase opportunities for Canadian exports
  • Focusing on specific sectors, such as extractives and energy, to highlight Canadian expertise
  • Enhancing Canada's reputation as a world-class corporate citizen committed to sharing knowledge and expertise with developing countries

Quick Facts

  • In 2013, Canada's bilateral merchandise trade with Africa reached $12.3 billion
  • Canada is the largest foreign investor in Burkina Faso and recently concluded the Canada-Burkina Faso FIPA
  • South Africa is Canada's largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa: in 2013, two-way merchandise trade totalled $1.2 billion; Canada's merchandise exports to Burkina Faso were worth $50.7 million; to Madagascar, $22 million; to South Africa, $468 million; and to Tanzania, $76.1 million