Canadian international assistance in South Africa

With a population of more than 48 million, and the most diversified and second-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has emerged as a main engine of growth in the continent since the end of apartheid in 1994.  It has a diversified market, abundant natural resources, well-developed financial services and manufacturing sectors, extensive transport infrastructure and good communications. It is also one of the lead architects of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and a major force in regional stability.

However, the country faces significant development challenges, such as severe income inequalities, high level of HIV/AIDS, high levels of crime, sexual violence and insecurity, high unemployment, and unequal access to basic public services.

Ranking on the UN Human Development Index

South Africa ranks 116th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2015 Human Development Index. Since 1990 it has dropped about 40 places on this index almost entirely because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This gives rise to severely reduced life expectancy and continues to strain social services while placing a huge burden on women and children. It is estimated that one out of five adults is HIV positive. That adds up to the highest number of HIV-infected people in any one country in the world. Estimates say 1.2 million children have lost both parents to HIV/AIDS.

South Africa has sound constitutional and legal policies, but lacks the capacity to implement them effectively. This is partly due to the substandard education that many black people received during apartheid and the slow changes made to the education system since that time. The resulting skills shortage, coupled with an unemployment rate of 25%, makes it difficult for the Government of South Africa to deliver services to poor communities.

Our international development assistance

Search the Project Browser to see how Canada supports development in South Africa.

Canada and South Africa signed a general agreement on development cooperation in 2006. Canada's bilateral development program in South Africa is closely aligned with the country's most important priority areas, as identified in the Government of South Africa's National Development Plan 2030.

South Africa is committed to strengthening its regulatory and public administration systems and to delivering better public services to its people. It faces a critical skills shortage, which hampers its ability to deliver services to the poor within national, provincial, and local governments. Canada helps build the capacity of the South African government to use its resources transparently and effectively to deliver essential public services to its citizens.

Key anticipated results

Progress on aid effectiveness

South Africa adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and is one of its strongest advocates and a champion of its implementation.

Donors are encouraged to channel aid contributions through South Africa's National Treasury Reconstruction and Development Program Fund, which demonstrates local ownership, alignment with local procedures and processes, mutual accountability, and results.

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