Remarks at Canada-Africa reception in Ottawa
The first times I went to Africa, I was accompanying my father on official trips, on vacations, on moments where he shared with me his deep love and respect for people on the African continent. I learned as a young boy the extraordinary warmth, the vibrant opportunities, and the incredible depth of Africa as a continent and as an amazing place for the future.
Years later, I would backpack to Africa on my own with some friends, and that was a trip that really allowed me to take time to meet people, to talk with people, you know, people, young people my age, with village elders, with a range of voices that helped me truly understand the challenges, but also the passion for building a better future that I met from one end of the continent to the other.
And more recently as Prime Minister on my second trip to Africa, I was able to really see just how deeply your continent is transforming itself. The growth, the change, the opportunities, the potential is tremendous, but also the success is not just to look towards the future, but to look right now at what’s happening now. The entrepreneurship, the investments, the partnerships that we can build. This is what is so exciting to me about deepening Canada’s partnership with African countries.
As you know…
…as I said, a couple weeks ago, ministers Hussen, Ng, Champagne and I went to Ethiopia and Senegal. It was an opportunity not only to strengthen the ties between us, but to explore new avenues for collaboration with our partners. Senegal is a major economic hub on the continent; Ethiopia has the highest rate of economic growth in Africa; and both of these African countries have a young and well‑connected population. This represents a golden opportunity for Canadian investors and entrepreneurs, and I have no doubt that African countries will play an even greater role in tomorrow’s economy, in part because of the reasons I just listed.
I was especially glad that Minister Ng and a business delegation from Canada could join us in Ethiopia to expand their network and explore new opportunities. There’s a lot more common ground between our two countries than some may assume, and it’s in our interest to build on it. That’s one thing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Sahle-Work Zewde and I discussed during our long meetings. Fighting climate change, growing our economy in a way that benefits everyone, managing our resources more responsibly, creating good jobs for people, advancing gender equality, we are focused on so many of the same things. And the same is true of President Sall of Senegal, as well as the many African leaders I met on the margins of the African Union summit, and the Munich security conference. I spoke with a number of our partners, including the leaders of Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Egypt, Madagascar, Mauritius, Cabo Verde, Somalia, Botswana and Burkina Faso, and in all our conversations one thing was clear: we have everything to gain by working together on the priorities we share.
Canadians, like people across the African continent, want to see real progress on the issues that matter most to them, and to deliver on that mandate, we have to be ready to work with old friends and new partners who are ready to get things done, so that’s exactly what we did during our visit. We strengthened existing partnerships and explored new ones, and people in this room know just how much untapped potential there is between Canada and its African partners.
Our government knows it too. That’s why since we first formed government, we’ve made it a priority to grow our relationship on the continent. Canada has long been a development partner for Africa, but we’re also thinking beyond that. Ethiopia, Senegal, countries across the continent, they are our business partners as well. And that’s the kind of relationship ministers Hussen, Ng and Champagne…
…and I sought to foster during our visit.
In closing, I want to thank my colleagues for all their work, not just during this trip, but from the beginning of our mandate, to deepen our ties with African countries. The discussions I had during my visit, with both leaders and local entrepreneurs, confirmed the need to build more bridges with Africa. Yes, we know that Canada has a long history of investments, development, humanitarian aid, but that’s not the future. The future is in entrepreneurship, it’s in real partnerships with African entrepreneurs and investors, Canadians who will share…
…our expertise, but also Africans who will share your expertise with Canadian companies and entrepreneurs. It’s two-way partnerships, and I am extremely optimistic because when we look at the planet and the tremendous challenges we have to face together, I see so many solutions thanks to the vision, the energy and the potential, but also the determination of Africans to prove that the future is theirs, and Canada will be there with you to make sure it becomes reality.
I will stop there.
Thank you for being here tonight.