The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that he will travel to Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia from November 5 to 11, 2016.
This first visit by Minister Dion to sub-Saharan Africa will highlight the importance Canada attaches to strengthening bilateral relations with African partners. Canada will also seek to advance its interests in the areas of peace, stability, security and the rule of law, including support for the International Criminal Court. The Minister will also announce a number of new projects for the region that support our shared interests in these areas.
Africa has seen strong growth and progress in reducing poverty over the last decade. However, some African countries continue to face instability and armed conflict, which impact regional and international security and threaten to limit the benefits of growth for the next generation. The consequences for our shared international security and prosperity cannot be underestimated. The dynamism at play across the continent is calling out for Canadian engagement, and this visit is an opportunity to support African governments as they channel that dynamism for the benefit of their people.
Minister Dion will build on Canada’s bilateral relationship with Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. He will co-chair the binational commission that will focus on governance and security issues, such as counterterrorism efforts and the humanitarian crisis in the northeast of the country.
In Kenya, Minister Dion will meet with Kenyan counterparts to discuss issues of shared interest and concern, including the role women play in peace and security and the important contributions Kenya has been making to regional security and peacebuilding.
In Ethiopia, Minister Dion will deliver the message that more can be done to engage Ethiopians in the democratic process and to encourage the government to undertake real and constructive reforms. The Government of Canada is concerned by the response to recent demonstrations but is cautiously optimistic that developments in the past few days may signal the willingness of the Ethiopian government to make genuine improvements for the benefit of its people.
This visit will also demonstrate the importance of the African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa, to our shared priorities, including supporting African-led efforts to address the pressing challenges facing the continent in the areas of security and the rule of law.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.