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Global economic competion for Africa “Where Canada is?”

In twenty years, China has become a leading player in Africa. Every three years, it organizes China-Africa economic summits with African leaders, and it invests massively in infrastructure and mining. In the first five months of 2023, the total import and export volume between China and Africa reached $113.5 billion. Also, it welcomes tens of thousands of African students every year…. A way to train and influence the future elites of this continent.

July 21, 2023
5 min read

Image credit © by Jade Gao - Pool (Getty Image) BEIJING, CHINA - June 14, 2023 : China's President Xi Jinping.

Africa Economy Canada African Continent Canadian Presence Afican Economy Honorable Amina Gerba

The United States is not left out. The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, while in Nigeria, conveyed the message that the United States takes the African continent and its people very seriously and promised a revival rapid relation with African leaders. No sooner said than done, in December 2022, the 2nd United States-Africa Summit was held in Washington.

At the same time, the former colonial powers of France and Great Britain are trying to maintain their domination. India, Brazil, Turkey, Germany, Russia, South Korea and Japan have also entered the race and are offering different types of investments as well as cooperation offers.

All these countries see the potential offered by the African continent marked by the rapid growth of its large middle class, by an increasingly educated population, by its abundant natural resources. What about Canada ?

Image credit © by Canada | Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.


Canada's intimate relationship with the African continent dates back to the early 20th century. For decades, it has helped many African countries to build educational centers (colleges, universities), roads and works of art, to dig wells and mines and also to maintain peace. Until the early 2000s, Canadian representation was very present and radiated in Africa.

Then around 2010, the Canadian presence slowly eroded on the African continent. One of the explanations is that, given its geographical position, Canada preferred to promote the development of its relations with Latin America and the Indo-Pacific region. This situation has had profound diplomatic and economic repercussions with the African continent.Today, Canada`s economic presence in Africa is essentially limited to the mining, oil and gas exploration and extraction sector

Image credit © by LinkedIn, Hon. Amina GERBA, Independent Senator of Quebec in the Senate of Canada.

Is there still potential for CANADA?

Following a recently published Immar Opinion Survey ( (CIAN Barometer of Opinion Leaders in Africa, conducted by IMMAR) for 12 African countries comprising nearly 60% of the population of the continent, Canada ranks third (3rd) behind the United States and Germany as the non-African country with the best image (France is ranked seventh (7th)). When asked which are the most beneficial foreign partners for the continent, Canada comes second after Germany (France ranks eleventh (11th)). We can see that there is still a great deal of sympathy for Canada and its expertise.

Canada must quickly get to work to restore its long and deep relationship with the African continent. It must quickly reaffirm its commitment by renewing direct and regular contact with African leaders, reopening embassies, and increasing regular meetings between leaders.

The diversification of the African economy and the growth of its middle class require massive investments in several areas including infrastructure, information and communication technologies, energy, agri-food and transport. Canada has the means, the expertise and the know-how to support Africa.

On February 10, in the heart of the Senate of Canada, the Senator of Canada of Cameroonian origin, the Honorable Amina Gerba called for the awakening of a Canada-Africa relationship full of potential, saying this: "I realize the dreams that Canada will sign a free trade agreement with the Zlecaf (African Free Trade Area) and put its signature on the inclusion of Africa in the modern economy on the same basis as other major economic regions of the world ".

Like many Canadians, she is convinced of the long-standing ties and the enormous potential between Canada and this essential continent that is Africa… Canada has a past there, and could have a very bright future!



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