Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Pan-Africa Regional Program

Table of Contents

© ACDI-CIDA/Pierre St-Jacques


More than 800 million people live in the 47 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. These people face some of the world's greatest social, economic and environmental challenges: one in two lives on less than US$1/day, their life expectancy is less than 50 years, and more than 70 percent do not have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services.

Regional cooperation and integration are necessary to meet the transboundary development challenges of sub-Saharan Africa, such as food security, sustainable economic growth, the fight against communicable diseases, and the management of common natural resources. Most African economies are small and fragmented. Fifteen countries are landlocked and share borders with an average of four countries. Economic integration will create larger regional markets and increase trade.

The African Union (AU) brings together African leaders who are committed to a united Africa with strong social and economic development, more accountable public institutions, healthier citizens and sustainable natural resources. Their vision, articulated in the AU's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) program, can only be achieved through extensive regional cooperation and integration.

In recent years, and in line with the AU/NEPAD's vision, a growing number of African countries have developed more participatory governance structures. Many have seen improved economic growth and are on track to meeting several Millennium Development Goals, such as universal primary school enrolment and greater equality between women and men.

Although African economies were hit hard by the last global economic crisis, they proved more resilient than expected. Recent forecasts for Africa anticipate a real gross domestic product growth of 4.5 percent in 2010 and 5.2 percent in 2011.

As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, CIDA is restructuring and streamlining its operations and, as of April 2012, will no longer support new projects under the Central Africa Regional Program, the Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Program, and the West Africa Regional Program. Regional institutions across Africa will remain eligible for Canadian assistance through a consolidated and more modest Pan-Africa Regional Program.

Thematic Focus

The goal of CIDA's Pan-African regional program is to help the African Union achieve its vision of regional integration and socio-economic growth. CIDA focuses on strengthening the capacity of a selected number of regional institutions to stimulate economic growth and increase food security. CIDA's program is closely aligned with the African Union/NEPAD's priorities.

Economic growth

CIDA focuses on strengthening the enabling environment and coordinating mechanisms needed for regional integration. This includes:

  • Improving infrastructure services
  • Increasing incomes and employment
  • Making institutions more accountable and more transparent in decision making
Selected examples of expected results
  • Three regional economic communities (spanning 41 countries) will strengthen the capacity of their trade units to promote trade within, and among, their regions
  • Eight Nile Basin countries will establish regional water basin management frameworks helping to create a regulatory environment which fosters basin-wide production, marketing and trade
  • Twenty-three francophone countries will increase the accountability of their supreme audit institutions improving the environment for business development and trade

Food security

CIDA focuses on increasing agricultural productivity. This includes building the capacity of African regional bodies to develop and share new research and technologies to increase crop yields and the nutritional value of staple crops. CIDA works closely with NEPAD's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to build long-term African agricultural capacity. One of the CAADP's goals is to increase annual agricultural production by 6 percent in each country.

Selected examples of expected results
  • Twelve African national research institutions will work together to share knowledge and experience across the region
  • More than 16.5 million households will use improved disease- and drought-resistant bean varieties and new farming techniques

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

In line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) CIDA works closely with the African Union to support African regional priorities and strengthen local ownership. Donors, including CIDA, are finding ways to better coordinate and harmonize their efforts in support of regional institutions, using multi-donor pooled funds and improved coordination in the field.

Canada was the first bilateral donor to develop a Pan-Africa program and has been instrumental in establishing effective regional continental initiatives such as the Nile Basin Initiative.

Achievements 2009-2010

Economic growth

  • Trained more than 300 individuals in three regional economic communities (spanning 41 countries) in global and regional trade negotiation and trade facilitation to advance Africa's ability to successfully access markets
  • Helped small and medium-sized enterprises working in the leather, mango, cashew nut, palm oil and coffee sectors gain increased access to market intelligence and links to overseas markets
  • Improved the capacity of three North African ministries and agencies in charge of water, environment and agriculture to use satellite imagery, data management techniques and decision support tools
  • Increased parliamentary budget oversight capacity and accountability in seven African parliaments through training
  • Helped increase the accountability of supreme audit institutions in 23 Francophone countries by improving their capacities to undertake performance, environmental and financial verification, manage information systems and projects and evaluate debt management systems

Food security

  • Helped complete state-of-the-art biosciences facilities and made them accessible to African scientists and students across the continent for collaborative agricultural research
  • Helped almost 4 million farming households—58 percent of which are headed by women—access nutritionally enhanced and drought-resistant bean seed varieties in eleven countries
  • Developed and disseminated more than 660 demand-driven agricultural technologies and innovations to more than 8,000 farmers

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