Hon. Amina Gerba: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.
Senator Gold, Africa is a large market that is being connected under a continental free trade area, worth a combined $3 trillion in GDP. It will be the largest free trade area in the world. Africa represents 1.2 billion consumers. It is estimated that, in 2050, one in four people will live on the African continent, which will be the youngest continent in the world. Africa consists of 54 countries that have an important voice in international strategic entities and alliances.
Canada’s failure to obtain a seat on the UN Security Council is without a doubt linked to the lack of support from African countries. Today, Russia has managed to circumvent part of the international sanctions imposed on it because the majority of African countries abstained from condemning the invasion of Ukraine, and some of them even refused to apply the sanctions.
Senator Gold, is the Government of Canada aware of Africa’s strategic importance?
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question, senator.
The Government of Canada does recognize the strategic importance of Africa. As you know, Canada and Africa have enjoyed a significant relationship for quite some time. For example, the recent visit of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Senegal and Nigeria in April also helped strengthen these ties. In Dakar, he met with key government representatives to discuss Canada-Senegal relations and the priorities of the African Union.
Senator Gerba: I understand, Senator Gold, that the Government of Canada is currently making efforts to reach out to Africa, but what is the Government of Canada doing in concrete terms to rally Africa to its cause within international entities?
Senator Gold: Thank you for the question.
As I mentioned, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs recently went on a visit to Africa. In Nigeria he met with parliamentarians to discuss trade, the repercussions of COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine, as well as the importance of ties between our peoples.
The Government of Canada remains determined to develop these important ties with our African partners and to continue building on its commitments with respect to regional priorities and international issues.