CIDA's Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program supports regional activities within a region that includes 22 countries. These countries are home to more than 425 million people, of whom about 200 million live on less than $1.25 per day.
Individual countries in this region have made some notable progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, but none will meet all of the targets by 2015.
Recent increases in food prices have caused unrest in several countries. The global financial crisis reduced demand for export commodities and lowered wages for miners, farmers, and small-scale enterprises, which has increased unemployment, although an economic recovery began in 2010.
Several countries have made significant progress in governance reform, but some of the others are unable to meet the needs of their citizens. Rates of HIV and tuberculosis infection are spiralling in some countries. Ongoing conflicts in some countries continue to harm the most vulnerable, particularly women, children, and youth.
The three main regional economic communities—the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Southern African Development Community—have recently agreed to form a free trade area. This will significantly improve the income and standard of living of farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs.
Efforts are also being made to collaborate on regional programs that will contain the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Southern and Eastern Africa is the highest in the world. It is estimated that almost half of the world's population with HIV/AIDS lives in this region.
CIDA's Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program is closely aligned with the vision of the region's economic communities: to become an integrated region with strong economic growth, more accountable public institutions, healthy citizens, and sustainable natural resources.
The goal of CIDA's Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program is to continue to build the capacity of regional institutions, organizations, and networks to more effectively stimulate sustainable economic growth and secure a future for children and youth.
CIDA focuses on building an enabling environment for regional economic integration, increased transboundary trade and labour mobility, and private sector growth. This includes harmonizing regulatory frameworks.
CIDA focuses on reducing the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis across national borders by mobile populations. CIDA also supports the strengthening of national health systems in order to improve services and reduce child mortality rates.
CIDA's Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program supports donor coordination and harmonization in the region. CIDA works closely with regional organizations to increase aid effectiveness, managing for results and increasing local ownership.