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Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

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OBJECTIVES: The Canada-Africa Parliamentary Group was founded in February 2000. In 2003, the Group was officially recognized and became the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. Rather than creating bilateral Friendship Groups with several of the 53 African countries, a single continent-wide parliamentary association was created to maximize Parliament’s resources, both human and financial.

The Association’s purpose is to encourage exchanges between African and Canadian parliamentarians, to enhance Canadian parliamentarians’ understanding of important issues and serious challenges facing the African continent, to propose initiatives to increase the understanding of bilateral and multilateral issues, and to foster cooperation in all areas of undertaking. The members are Senators and Members of the House of Commons from all political parties.

ACTIVITIES: Since its inception, the Association has worked to strengthen ties with African parliamentarians and with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). Association members have visited the PAP in South Africa four times. On three occasions, the Co-Chairs were invited to speak at the opening of a session. The Association would like to play a more active role as an observer of the Pan-African Parliament, but this relatively new institution faces a number of challenges before Canadian parliamentarians can become observers. The Association intends to maintain ties while also exploring contacts with regional organizations and parliaments in Africa.

To further the Association’s objectives of strengthening ties with national parliaments and regional organizations, the Association conducts bilateral visits to key countries in Africa. The Association has organized bilateral visits to Mozambique, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, as well as the partner countries of the East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Each visit provides an opportunity for the sharing of experiences among Canadian and African parliamentarians. Canadian parliamentarians also have the opportunity to witness the local impact of programs funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and to learn about Canada’s efforts in Africa from Canadian officials in the field.