19 May 2012
Camp David, Maryland
The Government of Canada is committed to the promotion of free and open markets, and to helping advance freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the Middle East and North Africa
. To this end, on May 19, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support for the following new initiatives that will help strengthen institutions, stimulate sustainable economic growth, and promote greater social and economic inclusion in the region: the Transition Fund, the Partnership for Youth Empowerment and Employability Project, the Youth at Work: Employment for Young Women and Men Project, and ratification of the expansion of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) operations to the Middle East and North African region.
At the 2011 G-8 Summit in Deauville, France, leaders formed the Deauville Partnership for Arab Countries in Transition, which provides the framework for G-8 members and partners to continue supporting Arab countries in their transition to free and democratic societies. As part of its commitments under the Partnership, Canada announced today that it is providing $15 million from the International Assistance Envelope to the Transition Fund. The Transition Fund will provide grants and technical assistance to help accelerate economic and democratic reform efforts in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia). The Fund will be used to strengthen institutions critical to economic development. The World Bank, with support from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), will host the Fund.
Members of the Partnership also agreed to seek to expand the operations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Middle East and North African region to enhance access to credit. On April 27, Canada, as a member of the EBRD, ratified changes to the bank, moving the Bank a step closer to expanding financing for economic development in the region.
Once a sufficient number of the Bank’s membership ratifies the changes, this will activate a “special fund” for investment in this region. This will enable the EBRD to invest up to $1.3 billion this year, and, with full ratification of the charter amendment, up to $4 billion over the next three years. This investment will bring the EBRD’s expertise in transition economies to the countries committed to economic transformation, supporting broad based private sector development, including the financing of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the creation of much-needed jobs. Canada is also pleased to be welcoming Tunisia and Jordan into its constituency at the Bank alongside Morocco.
Partnership for Youth Empowerment and Employability Project
Canada is providing $5.3 million over five years (2012-2016) through the International Aid Envelope to help increase employment and other opportunities for young women and men in Jordan by making skills training and education programs more accessible to young people. The project builds on Canada’s previous development efforts focused on reforming Jordan’s primary and post secondary technical education systems. It is anticipated that at least 2,500 students participating in the project will secure jobs. The project will be implemented by the Business Development Center, a Jordanian based non-profit economic development firm.
Youth at Work: Employment for Young Women and Men Project
Canada’s is providing $8.15 million over four years (2012-2015) through CIDA’s International Aid Envelope to support Morocco’s efforts to address youth unemployment and establish greater social and economic stability. Canada’s support will help strengthen education and skills training programs so that young people obtain the necessary skills to secure jobs and start new businesses. It is anticipated that these efforts will help close to 85,000 young women and men secure jobs. The International Labour Organization is Canada’s partner implementing the project.