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Business News of Monday, 18 March 2013

Source: B&FT

Canada pledges to support economic expansion

The government of Canada will continue to provide support to the country in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare and transportation as part of its global economic strategy, says Canada’s Ministers for International Trade/Asia-Pacific Gateway, Mr. Ed Fast.

He said his country will also continue to offer developmental assistance, humanitarian aid and capacity building to supplement Ghana’s drive toward economic expansion.

Mr. Fast disclosed this to Business and Financial Times in Accra after he led a trade mission comprising representatives from 28 Canadian companies and organisations – predominantly the extractive and infrastructure sectors – to the country.

“Ghana is a country with phenomenal growth rate that was estimated at around fourteen percent in 2011. Drafting a global economic strategy, we identified some economies in the world that were the fastest growing ones.

“Exporting Canada’s world-class goods, services and expertise to new, fast-growing markets around the world is a key part of Canada’s economic action-plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

“We are also ready to assist government in the area of transportation, because we believe it is the key to economic growth. For instance, if you don’t have good transport conditions to market goods and undertake trade activities, economic growth will be impeded,” he said.

For mining, Mr. Fast said Canada will provide capacity building that will offer personnel in that field the knowledge and expertise to do mining in a sustainable way.

“In Canada, we have a century or more experience in mining; and we know how to do it safely. For instance, when there is environmental damage we will stay in and help address the issue.”

Mr. Fast touched on other reasons why Ghana was included in Canada’s global economic strategy, which appear significantly on his government’s economic action plan: “one common thing we have with Ghana is that we are both Commonwealth countries.

“All such countries share characteristics such as freedom, democracy, human rights and support in the rule of law. And it is always easy to have economic partnerships when there is an element of common value.

“Ghana was the first African country Canada gave assistance to in terms of humanitarian aid. Since then we have continued to provide some basic needs, investing over 100 million dollars every year. So we have a longstanding relationship with Ghana.

“We strongly believe in Canada that trade and partnership are key drivers of economic growth, and we have eliminated trade barriers so trade can take place in a manner that is uninhibited.

“I look forward to working with mission participants, who have the technologies and expertise that can help countries, advance and manage their natural resource industries while fostering prosperity, job-creation, poverty reduction and good governance,” he said.

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund, five of the world’s 20 fastest growing economies are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 1995 and 2011, average annual GDP growing in Sub-Saharan Africa was greater than 4.8 percent.

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