The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded his participation in the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, where he worked closely with international partners to address key priorities, like food security, climate change and gender equality, and make life better for people.
This is a critical time. Commonwealth member states, as well as other countries around the world, are feeling the impacts of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine through rising food and gasoline prices, the growing fear of famine, and more. These challenges are also compounded by the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
During the summit, the Prime Minister drove action to address these challenges and reaffirmed Canada’s unwavering commitment to the core values that must bring the countries of the Commonwealth together: free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all people.
While at the CHOGM, Prime Minister Trudeau announced nearly $500 million to make life better for people in the Commonwealth and beyond. This total includes $250 million to help address the global food security crisis, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, as announced on June 23. It also includes an additional $246.5 million to advance action in key areas, such as global heath, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health.
This total comprises $94 million in funding for education, including,
- $80 million for the Canadian International Development Scholarship 2030.
- $7.8 million over three years for the renewal of long-term institutional support (LTIS) to the Commonwealth of Learning, based in Burnaby, British Columbia.
- $6.2 million for Teaching and Learning in Fragile Contexts, an initiative to improve primary school learning outcomes in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
It also includes $120 million for 11 initiatives that will support gender equality, empowering women and girls, sexual and reproductive health and rights in Commonwealth countries, including but not limited to the following projects:
- $27 million to Partners for Municipal Innovation – Women in Local Leadership.
- $20 million in continued support to Nigeria in sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly in neglected regions.
- $15.5 millio for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Global Health.
The Prime Minister underlined Canada’s commitment to further support efforts to tackle climate change and strengthen peace and security throughout the African continent by announcing $32.5 million.
On the margins of the CHOGM, Prime Minister Trudeau also underscored Canada’s commitment to fostering trade and investment with its Commonwealth partners in Africa with the signing the Canada-Rwanda Air Transport Agreement (ATA). Expanding Canada’s air transport relationships improves connectivity to new and existing destinations, which benefits passengers and businesses. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to welcome private sector agreements valued at up to $148 million in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zambia. Expanding trade and investment with African countries is crucial to our shared economic recovery, with expanded trading partnerships and more diversified supply chains that create jobs and grow the middle class.
In Kigali, Canada announced our intention to expand Canadian representation on the African continent to further strengthen our relationships. The Canadian office in Rwanda will be converted into a High Commission, increasing its diplomatic capacity to help promote our diverse partnerships, and the broad range of our shared interests and cooperation. Canada is also establishing a dedicated mission and permanent observer to the African Union in Addis Ababa, which will bring a renewed focus to our relationship with African partners and strengthen ongoing efforts on our shared priorities. With complex peace and security challenges around the world, now is the time to increase our support towards regional security and peace.
At the conclusion of the summit, heads of government issued their communiqué on “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming,” which affirms a renewed commitment to free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace. Commonwealth leaders also re-elected Patricia Scotland as the Commonwealth Secretary-General and also agreed to a set of reforms to modernize the Commonwealth and improve its governance, and looked forward to their timely implementation.