Prime Minister Trudeau holds a media availability in Addis Ababa
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I would like first of all to thank Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde for giving me such a warm welcome, as well as Ministers Ng, Champagne and Hussen.
We also have a special guest joining us on this trip, Masai Ujiri, the president of the Toronto Raptors. Masai is doing an incredible work in Africa to empower youth through Sport. His Foundation, Giants of Africa, is helping countless young people, including many young women, reach their full potential, and I’m grateful that he was able to join us on this trip and help build even more bridges between Canada and African nations. Thank you, my friend.
Now before I go any further, I want to take a moment in memory of the 157 people, including 18 Canadians, who died in the tragic plane crash here last spring. I know that Ethiopians and Canadians will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in good times and in bad, because whether it’s the vibrant Ethiopian community back home, or the entrepreneurs who work together across an ocean, we can rely on each other.
Here in Addis Ababa, a thriving and innovative capital, you don’t have to look too far to see that the future is bright. From a young educated population to new avenues for trade and investment, you’ve got the ingredients for success. It’s no wonder that Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and that this region is booming.
And that’s what brings us here today. Our government is working with Ethiopia and our partners in the African Union to unlock even greater opportunities for people. I had a chance to meet with a number of our partners on the margins of the summit, including the leaders of Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt, Madagascar, Mauritius and Cabo Verde. I’m looking forward to having more conversations with our African partners throughout the rest of my time here.
This visit gives us a chance to build more bridges between Canada and Ethiopia. We have a golden opportunity to work more closely together to create jobs and growth in our respective countries.
I know that Minister Ng and the entire Canadian trade delegation have been very busy over the last few days. We now have a new memorandum of understanding between the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations. We also plan on co-hosting a clean-tech conference in Addis next year and we announced major new investments to support sustainable economic growth across the region, whether to help farmers, women, or young people succeed because we know that we cannot reach our full potential unless everyone has a real and fair chance at success.
So, let me take a moment to talk about our focus on gender equality. When women and girls have access to education and jobs, they lift their communities up; but all too often, they’re still missing out on those opportunities. Moving forward together towards greater prosperity means ensuring that no one gets left behind. Our government will always put empowering women at the heart of everything we do at home and abroad. And we’re not alone in that, Ethiopia is leading, with Prime Minister Abiy appointing a gender-balanced cabinet and President Sahle-Work advancing women’s rights.
Here in Ethiopia, where nearly 70% of the population is under 30 years old, we cannot forget about young people. In every country in the world, young people are the future of our shared success. I look forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Abiy and the leaders of the African Union to ensure that Africa’s youth can thrive. Together we can create opportunities for young people here, while opening new markets that will benefit Canadians of all ages.
Over the past few days, we’ve also made progress on one of the most important factors in building economies that work for everyone; clean sustainable growth. Our oceans and seas have enormous potential to create good jobs for today and tomorrow, but for that to happen we need to protect them. Our government will continue to lead on combatting plastic pollution, just like we will continue to lead on addressing climate change. In fact, Canada will provide funding to the World Bank for climate resilience and new support for women, which attests to the strength of our commitment.
While we are here in Addis Ababa to strengthen our relationship with Ethiopia, our Government is also seeking to take full advantage of our partnership with the African Union. Today I can announce the start of consultations between Canada and the African Union Commission. There is incredible potential in this relationship, from creating jobs for Canadians and Africans to building a world of greater peace and equality. Over the next decade, we will move forward in a spirit of collaboration. As you know, Canada is working hard for a seat on the UN Security Council. Our world is increasingly unpredictable, and the challenges our countries face are complex. Now more than ever, Canada must have the opportunity to shape the major issues that impact the daily lives of our citizens, and our visit has therefore allowed us to engage with our African partners on this subject, and to move this file forward.
Around the world, people look to Canada as a trusted partner, and there’s good reason for that. From strengthening democracy with support from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, to helping create sustainable peace through a new contribution of $6 million for the UN Peacekeeping fund… Peacebuilding Fund, we are stepping up. Whether building relations with Ethiopia and the African Union or pursuing a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council, we will continue to advance our shared goals. By working together, we can create a brighter future. For Canadians, for Ethiopians, for people across this region.
Again, I want to thank Prime Minister Abiy and President Sahle-Work for welcoming me and our team to Ethiopia.