“We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Aga Khan Council on co-operation during emergencies, and it was a highlight for me to build on the longstanding relationship between Canada and the Aga Khan Council.”
– Stéphane Dion, Canada’s Foreign Minister
Ismailimail highlights 2 out of the 9 questions that Samuel Getachew of CNBC Africa asked Stéphane Dion, Canada’s Foreign Minister on Canada’s relations with Africa.
Relations with Africa: In conversation with Canada’s foreign minister
by Samuel Getachew Last Updated: Thu, 24 Nov 2016 15:25:27 GMT
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Stéphane Dion, made his first-visit to sub-Saharan Africa earlier this month. He visited Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia. Here, he reflects on his visit to each country, why the one-year-old Justin Trudeau government will continue to be engaged to the continent, on human rights, trade, aid and what he thinks are the biggest challenges of the continent.
Q: You made your first visit to Africa as Foreign Minister. What were some of the highlights?
A: In Abuja, I co-chaired the 5th Canada-Nigeria Binational Conference, with Nigerian Foreign Minister Onyeama. During the conference, we discussed regional and global issues facing Africa, including security and counterterrorism, development and governance, immigration, and trade and investment.
While in Nairobi, I discussed a broad range of shared interests with President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Monica Kathina Juma. We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Aga Khan Council on co-operation during emergencies, and it was a highlight for me to build on the longstanding relationship between Canada and the Aga Khan Council. The Government of Canada announced $19.1 million to improve the technical and vocational education training system, so young Kenyans have the tools they need to access several demand-driven economic sectors.
In Addis Ababa, I met Prime Minister Hailemariam and announced $5 million in new support for the African Union Commission (AUC), to advance African priorities in empowering the most vulnerable, including women and girls, good governance, renewable energy, and intra-African trade. The AU is, more than never, an essential organization and a key interlocutor for Canada. Through our engagement with it, we continue to help empower citizens of this continent to lead their own development.
I raised the importance of continued African participation in the International Criminal Court. Canada was deeply saddened to learn South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia plan to withdraw. We believe engaging African partners on this issue – including the many that support the ICC – is essential to strengthening the ICC and ensuring it continues to respond to the needs of victims of serious international crimes on behalf of the international community.
Q: Canadian diplomats and (past) foreign ministers have made their mark in the world. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for peacekeeping, while Axworthy promoted a world free of landmines and Joe Clark helped end apartheid in South Africa. In a decade from now, how do you want to be remembered as Canada’s noted Foreign Minister?
A: I will leave that to the historians. I am focused on the pressing needs of today, on engaging the world to tackle them and on improving the lives of those most affected.
Read the complete interview at CNBC Africa | Relations with Africa: In conversation with Canada’s foreign minister