February 23, 2005
2005-015

Archived - Budget 2005 Delivers on Canada's Commitment to Africa

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The global health care, debt relief and other measures announced in Budget 2005 show Canada's continued leadership in helping the people of Africa overcome the overwhelming challenges of poverty and disease, Minister of Finance Ralph Goodale said today.

"By almost any measure Africa is a continent in crisis," said Minister Goodale. "More than 260,000 people die in Africa of AIDS and malaria-the equivalent of a tsunami-every single month. The international events of recent weeks remind us not only that we are all connected in this world, but that we also have responsibilities in this world."

Budget 2005 includes the following Africa-related announcements:

  • A doubling of Canada's aid to Africa by 2008-09 from its 2003-04 level.
  • $160 million in funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, an organization with a goal of saving the lives of 1 million children from 2004 to 2006.
  • $140 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • $42 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, to put it on track towards its goal of eliminating polio worldwide by the end of this year.
  • $34 million in further support for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Trust Fund.
  • $172 million over the next five years to pay Canada's share of debt-service costs owed by eligible countries to the International Development Association of the World Bank and the African Development Fund.
  • $100 million annually over five years to peace and security initiatives, to provide security assistance to failed and failing states.

The 2005 federal budget comes one day before the final meeting of the Commission for Africa, created by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to help African nations achieve their economic potential and meet their development goals. Minister Goodale is a member of the Commission for Africa, and is contributing to the Commission's working group on the African economy. The Commission's final report is due this spring, in advance of the G-8 leaders summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

"Canada took the lead in raising Africa's profile on the world's agenda, starting with the G-8 summit in Kananaskis in 2002," Minister Goodale said. "The measures announced in today's budget are a further sign of Canada's commitment to work with the people of Africa as they build a brighter future."

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Backgrounder

Budget 2005: Canada's Commitment to Africa

Africa continues to face critical challenges, especially in the areas of health and economic development. Budget 2005 strengthens support for Africa in its efforts to build prosperity, through the following initiatives.

Increased Aid to Africa

Canada will continue to increase aid to Africa over the next five years, and will double its 2003-04 African aid level by 2008-09. This pledge is part of an additional $3.4-billion increase in Canada's international assistance over the next five years, with a goal of doubling international assistance from its 2001-02 level by 2010-11.

Global Health

In total, Budget 2005 includes $342 million in health initiatives that will benefit Africa. This additional money will be focused on the prevention and treatment of diseases that currently afflict countless African citizens, particularly children.

  • Vaccination and immunization:
  • Canada will provide $160 million in funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), an organization with a goal of saving the lives of 1 million children from 2004 to 2006 by providing vaccines and immunization services to children in the poorest countries in the world. Canada has been involved in GAVI since its formation, and has previously contributed $40 million.
  • Treatment of disease:
  • Canada will provide $140 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases. Canada was an early supporter of the Fund, pledging approximately $160 million in 2001. This new funding reinforces Canada's other actions on global HIV/AIDS, including:
  • $100 million to the World Health Organization's "3 by 5" Initiative, which seeks to treat 3 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS with antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2005.
  • $105 million to various initiatives targeting women and young girls affected by HIV/AIDS in developing countries, including the International Partnership for Microbicides.
  • $50 million in support of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the African AIDS Vaccine Programme.
  • The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act, which made Canada the first country in the world to commit to making less expensive versions of patented medicines available to developing countries facing public health problems.
  • Polio elimination:
  • Budget 2005 also includes funding to cover Canada's $42-million contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). This contribution, previously announced on January 17, 2005, put GPEI on track towards its goal of eliminating polio worldwide by the end of this year, and led to a recent award for Canada by the United Nations Foundation. As Dr. Bruce Aylward, the GPEI's coordinator, said following the announcement, "We can really make a much, much stronger assault at this critical time than we had originally anticipated. Canada has ridden in on the white horse here."

Debt Relief

A key part of Canada's commitment to Africa is ensuring countries free up financial resources to spend on the future of their citizens, not the debt payments of their past. Budget 2005 delivers on this commitment through two measures.

  • Increased support for HIPC:
  • Budget 2005 allocates an additional $34 million to support the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund-the backbone of the international debt strategy that Canada played a key role in creating, providing $346 million in HIPC support since its inception. Through the Canadian Debt Initiative, Canada has cancelled the Canadian debts of four African nations in the last five months alone, and has forgiven $600 million to date.
  • Beyond HIPC:
  • As part of Canada's proposal of 100 per cent debt relief for the world's poorest nations, Budget 2005 allocates $172 million over the next five years to pay Canada's share of debt-service costs owed by eligible countries to the International Development Association of the World Bank and the African Development Fund of the African Development Bank. Canada is also prepared, if required, to provide further relief for debt owed to the International Monetary Fund. Minister Goodale announced Canada's 100 per cent debt relief proposal just prior to this month's meeting of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

Peace and Security

Recognizing that development cannot occur during times of conflict or security threats, Canada will allocate $100 million annually over five years to peace and security initiatives. The additional funds will support the Human Security Program and provide security assistance to failed and failing states, as well as resources for post-conflict stabilization and recovery. A recent example is the $20 million in assistance being provided by Canada for the African Union Mission in Darfur, Sudan.

Private Sector Reforms

Canada will do more to help developing countries, particularly African countries, build their private sectors, make markets work for the poor and compete globally. The Government will also encourage additional incentives for Canadian firms doing business in Africa while better considering each community's unique social and economic development needs. An important example is the Canada Investment Fund for Africa, designed to channel at least $200 million in private investment into Africa. Doing more to help developing countries strengthen their private sectors was a key recommendation of Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo in their UN report, Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor.