Supporting Development

While some African countries have made progress in reducing poverty, sub-Saharan Africa is still home to some of the poorest people in the world. In 2010, an estimated 414 million people lived on less than $1.25 per day, indicating that more people in the region are living in extreme poverty than ever before.

Working to achieve its Development Priorities, Canada focuses its international development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa in ten countries:

Canada also works with development partner countries in the region. Where development challenges benefit from regional approaches, Canada works with continental institutions such as the African Union and the African Development bank, and regional institutions including Regional Economic Communities.

In times of disaster, crises or severe conflict, Canada provides humanitarian assistance, as part of a global response, to save lives and alleviate suffering. In 2014, this assistance included support for countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and South Sudan. In 2012, Canada provided support for the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa.  

Canada's Role

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children is a significant focus of Canada's efforts in sub-Saharan Africa and it is a key component of improving the future of children and youth in the region. Beginning with Canada's commitment to the Muskoka Initiative in 2010, seven of the ten targeted countries for Canada's Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programs are located in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, South-Sudan and Tanzania). By continuing to focus on reducing the number of preventable deaths for mothers, newborns and children, Canada is bringing global attention to critical issues that are impeding development in this region.

Canada is also committed to increasing food security for those most in need , supporting programs that improve sustainable agricultural production, increase availability of nutritious food, meet humanitarian food needs, and emphasize scientific research and innovation.

Fostering sustainable economic growth is key to creating the circumstances for people to lift themselves out of poverty, through the promise of jobs and livelihoods for men and women. Canada, through in-country programming and regional initiatives (such as the Pan-Africa Regional Program) is helping create the conditions for the private sector to flourish in Africa, where the potential to grow economies and reduce poverty is great. In 2014, Canada announced its Extractives Cooperation for Enhanced Economic Development (EXCEED) Program, to enhance the contribution of the extractives sector to sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa through innovative, multi-country development assistance projects.

Canada also looks for ways to address gender equality, environment and governance issues in all of its initiatives. 

Quick Facts

  • Canada takes an active role in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative launched in 2012 to help lift 50 million people out of poverty within 10 years through an African-led process that focuses on increasing private-sector investment in agriculture
  • Sub-Saharan Africa faces some of the greatest challenges in improving child survival and maternal health, which is why Canada provides 80 percent of its $1.1 billion in new MNCH funding to sub-Saharan Africa, including Mozambique, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Tanzania
  • Canada is working with national governments and other donors to improve coordination, alignment and harmonization of efforts to tackle under-nutrition and plays an active role in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) policy development in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal