The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, yesterday visited African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he reinforced his support for African-led efforts to address the pressing challenges facing the continent, in particular in the areas of security, governance and the rule of law. Canada strongly supports the AU’s work and vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
During the course of his visit, Minister Dion had a number of meetings with officials of the African Union Commission (AUC), which is the AU’s secretariat, including Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, on conflict prevention and mediation, peace-support operations, governance, human rights and the rule of law.
At AU headquarters, Minister Dion announced a $5-million project to support the AUC in areas of mutual priority, including the empowerment of women and girls, good governance, renewable energy, intra-African trade, and addressing the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Minister Dion also announced $680,000 in projects to strengthen sub-Saharan Africa’s capacity to address human rights compliance in criminal-justice measures against terrorism and violent extremism in seven selected African states: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Canada will also provide $250,000 to the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, which is affiliated with the AU, to address legal issues involved in handling and prosecuting terrorism-related cases in East Africa.
Minister Dion’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa is an opportunity to highlight the importance Canada assigns to the region, focusing on peace and stability, security and the rule of law. The visit also underlines Canada’s commitment to promote inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa, which draws on the potential of the continent’s women and youth. The dynamism at play today across the continent is calling out for Canadian engagement and support for African governments as they channel that dynamism for the benefit of their people.Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.