The Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Regional Program

Official development assistance (ODA) accounts for a much smaller proportion of assistance than it has in the past. New partnerships and initiatives that can mobilize additional financing and investment will be needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and further Canada’s policy priorities for international development.

For example, woman-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region face a USD 1.37 trillion financing gap.1 Barriers to women’s access to finance include low levels of collateral, low financial literacy and discriminatory practices by formal financial institutions. ODA can help address these barriers by increasing access to capital, markets, digital technology and business development services and by encouraging gender-sensitive investment policies and financial instruments. 

Climate change threatens development gains throughout the region. It is a significant concern for the South Pacific and low-lying coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, many of which have large and growing urban populations and poor infrastructure. The Asia-Pacific region will need to invest USD 26 trillion in infrastructure from 2016 to 2030 to maintain economic growth and respond to climate change.2 The private sector is an important investing partner in supporting low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure development. ODA can help address constraints to private investment. It can support policy reforms that facilitate climate-smart investment and build public sector capacity to develop commercially viable climate deals. Through blended finance and public-private partnerships, ODA can also help reduce investment risks associated with climate projects.

The Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Program

The Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth (TRIGR) Program is an Asia-Pacific regional development assistance program designed to engage the private sector in support of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy’s action areas. The TRIGR Program is engaging in private sector partnerships that can attract co-financing and investment, leverage knowledge and expertise and help identify and test innovative solutions to address development challenges and reduce poverty. In particular, by engaging the private sector through innovative financing mechanisms, the TRIGR Program can help advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, support growth that works for everyone and promote environment and climate action. 

The TRIGR Program has a flexible geographic mandate. It can work in any ODA-eligible country in the Asia-Pacific region.

1 International Finance Corporation, "MSME Finance Gap: Assessment of the shortfalls and opportunities in financing micro, small and medium enterprises in emerging markets,” 2017

2 Asian Development Bank, “Meeting Asia’s Infrastructure Needs," 2017

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