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Canadian Minister To Lead African Trade Mission

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

22 October 2012

Canada's Minister of International Trade Ed Fast is to head up a trade mission to Ghana and Nigeria next year as the government seeks to open new markets and create business opportunities.

Fast will be accompanied on his visit by representatives of Canadian companies in the extractive and infrastructure sectors.

Announcing the mission, Fast said: “With Africa one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world, our government is committed to opening new markets and creating new opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses throughout the continent. Canadian companies that succeed in international markets also create good jobs and greater prosperity here at home.”

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Ghana reached CAD321m (USD323m) in 2011, a 61% increase over 2010. The same year, trade with Nigeria totalled over CAD2.7bn, up 44% since 2010 and 300% since 2009. Nigeria is now Canada’s largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.

Canada is currently in negotiations toward a free trade agreement with Morocco and also for foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) with numerous African countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia and Zambia. A FIPA has just been concluded with Senegal. According to Fast, once these FIPAs enter into force, they will provide the stable, transparent and predictable environment necessary to give Canadian businesses greater confidence.

“More and more African economies are embracing trade and investment as an engine for growth and poverty reduction. I am pleased to be leading a trade mission to a region where world-class Canadian companies are creating jobs and prosperity and proving the win-win benefits of closer economic ties,” Fast concluded.

TAGS: Morocco | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | Burkina Faso | Niger | Nigeria | trade treaty | agreements | Benin | Cameroon | Canada | Senegal | Tunisia | Zambia | trade | Ghana

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