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Growth that works for everyone

Canada believes that inclusive growth requires the full and equal participation of women in the economy. In most countries, gender inequalities are greater among the poor. Canada has identified inclusive growth as an area for action because it is central to poverty reduction. Inclusive growth, development and sustainable peace are not possible unless women and girls are valued and empowered.

Canada’s international assistance will help build a more inclusive and prosperous world. Such a world will achieve gender equality, with women and girls equally contributing to and benefiting from economic opportunities.

Canada will support inclusive economic growth that helps the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized generate, participate and benefit from economic activity. This includes support for sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, producer associations and cooperatives. It also means support to develop micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises and to provide access to decent work, particularly for women.

Inclusive growth: expanding the benefits

Over the past three decades, the world has made impressive gains in reducing poverty. Economic growth has helped lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty in the developing world. In many countries, economic growth has resulted in increased incomes, better access to goods and services, and improved living standards. The private sector, which creates nine out of 10 jobs in developing and emerging countries, is essential to this growth.

At the same time, millions of people around the world continue to face poverty and inequality. An estimated 10.7% of the world’s population (766 million people) still lives in extreme poverty, on less than US$1.90 a day on average. The benefits of economic growth have not reached everyone equally, especially women.

Many countries now agree that a new approach to economic growth and development is required for poverty reduction. This would help achieve Goal 8 of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development regarding decent work and economic growth. There should be better income distribution and improved access to, and management of, human, financial and natural resources.

Empowering women and youth economically offers a real way of making sure growth reaches the poorest and most vulnerable. It will also address the gender gaps that hold back growth and perpetuate poverty.

Promoting women’s economic empowerment and rights

Gender inequalities are usually greater among the poor, particularly in the areas of education, health and economic opportunities. Women shoulder more unpaid work and have less access to resources and financial services than men. This undermines the ability of women to undertake paid economic activities. In developing countries, women’s work is concentrated in the agricultural sector, and in low-paying and gender-segregated jobs with few social protections.

Yet women have the ability to transform their countries' economies and societies, as well as their own households. Women can do this if provided with equal access to resources and education, and if men do unpaid care work equally. Investing in women and girls is the right thing to do to fully realize gender equality. It is also the smart way to reduce poverty and inequality. Gender equality ensures that women and girls have opportunities to contribute to, and benefit equally from, economic growth.

To advance women’s economic empowerment and rights, Canada will:

Improving our effectiveness: leveraging investment

The cost to attain the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda is an estimated US $5.7 trillion. Mobilizing these funds will require a coordinated international effort, targeting official development assistance resources to where they are needed most. It will also require new partnerships and initiatives that can leverage additional financing and investment. Fortunately, today, the financial resources that can support development are greater and more diverse than in the past.

Canada will actively seek to leverage investments in developing countries, drawing more effectively on all available resource flows. This includes new funding methods such as “blended finance,” repayable contributions and other initiatives that encourage private sector investment and co-financing. Blended finance uses grants and non-grant financing to provide sufficient funds for projects.

Canada has also launched the Development Finance Institution, a subsidiary of Export Development Canada. This new institution received an initial capitalization of $300 million. It will draw upon a range of financing instruments to support private sector investment in developing countries. In particular, it will focus on clean growth as well as women- and youth-led businesses. By doing so, it will leverage commercial investments to support initiatives that are aligned with Canada’s development priorities.

More integrated assistance: progressive trade and development

More integrated trade and development initiatives can also help reduce poverty and inequality. As a trading nation, Canada’s economic vitality depends on diversifying trade and identifying new markets for its goods and services. Canadian investment in these markets can create jobs and improve incomes.

Developing countries can become Canada’s future trading partners, creating opportunities for our own economy and middle class. The Government of Canada is developing a progressive trade agenda that will help ensure gender equality is fully considered in trade negotiations.

More responsive assistance: effective tools, innovation and research

Effective tools, innovation and research will be essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and inclusive growth. More responsive international assistance also requires more efficient and effective funding tools. Canada will expand its range of funding mechanisms. This will enable joint program assistance with other donors, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and leveraged as well as blended finance.

Canada will also draw on and develop new funding instruments to encourage innovative cooperation and smart experimentation. Such instruments include prizes and challenges, micro-funding and incentive-based funding.

Global Affairs Canada will build innovation into its assistance programs and financing mechanisms. It will seek new ways of working and new partnerships that can increase development impact. This can be done through innovative funding partnerships, greater investment in research and other endeavours.

More effective partnerships: engaging the private sector

Canada recognizes the fundamental role of the private sector in driving economic growth through trade and investment. The private sector is also an important source of expertise. Canada will support developing countries in their efforts to create stable rules-based systems that can attract investment and enable businesses to thrive.

Canada will engage in private sector partnerships that attract co-financing and investment, and help develop solutions to development challenges. It will also develop more opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable so that they, too, can benefit from economic growth.

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