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Join the discussion: consulting Canadians on a proposed economic cooperation strategy with Africa

Current status: Closed

This consultation ran from May 20 to July 31, 2023.

Consultation description

Purpose of the consultation

Who should participate?

This consultation is open to the public and everyone is invited to share their ideas.

In particular, we would like to invite input from groups traditionally under-represented in international trade and investment on the potential gender, environmental and social impacts of developing an economic cooperation strategy with Africa.

We would like to hear the views of the Canadian public and interested stakeholders including:

For reasons of confidentiality and security, the submissions and names of contributors to this consultation process will not be released to the public by the Government of Canada.

How to participate?


Africa is  home to a wide variety of markets, from the advanced economy of South Africa, middle-income countries such as Botswana and Namibia, and coastal countries with strong developing economies characterized by investment-friendly business environments, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Morocco. The growing workforce, rapid urbanization, ongoing improvements in governance, economic management, and stability of many countries underpin their positive economic trajectories. There are also a number of countries with challenging economic environments.

The African continent, which includes 20% of the earth’s surface, 60% of the world’s arable land, and 30% of the world’s mineral deposits, including the critical minerals needed in green and digital technologies and renewable energy, has vast economic potential and significant strategic importance. By 2050, Africa will have a population of 2.53 billion people and 1 in 4 people worldwide will be living in Sub-Saharan Africa: it is a growing market that will be home to the youngest population of any continent. African countries are, moreover, essential partners if the world is to achieve its biodiversity and climate mitigation and adaptation goals.  

The development of a Canada-Africa Economic Cooperation Strategy is timely, particularly as African countries work to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Trading under the Agreement has started amongst a limited number of countries, and full implementation is expected by 2035. According to a World Bank report issued in 2020, by 2035 the AfCFTA will boost regional incomes by 7% or $450 billion. Once fully implemented, it will constitute a single market with free movement of goods, services and people, and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion. 

Related link: The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects (PDF)

Implications for Canada  

From 2012 to 2022, merchandise exports to Africa have increased by approximately 43%, but still represent only 0.7% of Canada’s total in 2022. In 2021, known Canadian Direct Investment Abroad for Africa was $14.5 billion, while known Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Canada from Africa was $2.1 billion. Africa’s emerging and frontier markets, the anticipated growth in the continent’s economies and consumer markets, and the integrated, rules-based and transparent trade and investment environment that is expected to accompany implementation of the AfCFTA, present opportunities to significantly increase these figures.

Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy supports the advancement of human rights, gender equality, diversity and inclusion both as valuable goals in their own right and as essential conditions for durable peace and security, sustainable economic development, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, notably the Action Area on Growth that Works for Everyone, will continue to guide international assistance programming, offering synergies that support sustainable economic growth and help ensure that the benefits of trade are more widely shared.

Research and innovation are also key to building a deeper economic relationship between Canada and Africa. The proposed CA-ECS will strengthen efforts to forge new partnerships between Canadian and African institutions, technologies and businesses to address global challenges of the 21st century such as pandemics, climate change, and inequality.

Related links

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