Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support that will help countries in the Middle East and North Africa to modernize their economies and become more open societies. The announcement was made during the G-8 Summit in Camp David, Maryland.
“At the 2011 G-8 Summit in Deauville, Canada committed to working with partners in the Middle East and North Africa to promote economic opportunities and to advance freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The support announced today will help these nations lay a foundation for more modern and transparent economies.”
As part of its efforts, Canada will contribute to a Transition Fund, which will provide grants and technical assistance to help countries undergoing transition in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) strengthen institutions critical to economic development. The G-8 will work with regional partners, the World Bank and others to establish the Transition Fund.
A priority of the G8 Deauville Partnership is the expansion of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) operations to the Middle East and North African region to enhance access to credit. Delivering on this commitment, Canada has ratified changes to the bank, moving it a step closer to expanding financing for economic development in the region.
Canada will also support sustainable economic growth in the region with two new development projects. In Jordan, Canada will contribute to efforts to create jobs for young women and men by improving their access to education and skills training. In Morocco, Canada will help strengthen training programs so that young people can obtain the necessary skills to secure jobs and start new businesses.
Today’s announcements support ongoing economic relations with the region, including negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement with Morocco and the finalization of a Free Trade Agreement with Jordan.