The Canada Among Nations series is the premier source for contemporary insight into pressing Canadian foreign policy issues.
Presented in five parts, the 2013 edition of Canada Among Nations features 18 in-depth essays exploring Canada and Africa’s rich history, taking stock of what has been accomplished and offering recommendations for a more strategically beneficial Canada-Africa partnership.
“Canada’s diplomatic representation in Africa is characterized by a presence that is broad, but not deep. It has a limited number of diplomatic missions delivering a range of government programs in which development assistance predominates and often overshadows other programs and interests.”
When did Canada establish a diplomatic presence in Africa and how has this presence evolved?
What political motivations influenced the expansion of Canada’s diplomatic presence into French-speaking African nations?
What impact will the 2013 amalgamation of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) have on Canada’s diplomatic presence in Africa?
“The present Canada-South Africa relationship is best characterized as ambivalent and at arm’s length. If permitted to continue, such a situation has significant consequences for Canadian foreign policy interests in Africa.”
How has Canada’s official development assistance to South Africa changed since the post apartheid period?
What factors have contributed to the decline/stagnation in the trade relationship between Canada and South Africa?
What role should South Africa play in a broader Canadian engagement strategy in Africa?
“Since its inception, Canada has always been shaped by diaspora communities, but today’s diaspora are truly transnational populations in a position to influence both home and host governments, shape their security and influence trade, development and investment policy preferences.”
What political impact can or should diaspora have in Canada and how is this influence intertwined with political motivations and agendas back home?
How are the Sudanese/South Sudanese and Somalian diasporas engaging with and bridging their home and host countries?
What role can diaspora play in funding development assistance for their home communities?
“Put simply, Canada’s Africa policy is a matter of choice, not necessity. As others have observed, this has often meant that Canada’s Africa policy has a strong values orientation, as Canadian governments have used their Africa policy to project their values abroad.”
How are concepts of nation building and imagined communities intertwined with Canada’s relationship with Africa?
Is Canada’s Africa policy one of choice or necessity?
Human internationalism, a commitment to multilateralism, the national unity crisis, and multiculturalism – how are these factors diving Canada’s Africa policy?
“Whereas many observers in times past despaired of Sub-Saharan Africa, and murmured that bad news seemed to overwhelm anything else coming out of Africa, now there are true success stories, demonstrable improvements in governance and democracy, and a brighter outlook all around.”
What factors are propelling the new development momentum being witnessed across Sub-Saharan Africa?
What natural, physical, and geographical challenges lay ahead for Africa?
What role can human agency and good governance play in sub-Saharan Africa’s continued positive change?
“Since there are few Canadian peace-building efforts in Africa to point to in recent years, we can instead look at missed opportunities. This allows us to re-think our peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction agenda in Africa, and learn from the successes, as well as the errors and omissions, in order to help chart a way forward.”
Is Canada a trusted mediator on the global stage and what connection does Canada’s image play in the fulfillment this role?
Where do opportunities exist for Canada to play a leading role in peace-building efforts in Africa?
Prevention, mediation, and post-conflict reconstruction – how should these strategies be combined as Canada engages in peacebuilding in Africa?
“Although economic and security interests are prominent in Canada’s internationalism in Africa, Canada’s overall foreign policy orientation is embedded in the maintenance of moral identity — the pursuit of humane-oriented foreign policy objectives, including human rights, human security and poverty alleviation”
How does Canada’s image as a moral actor influence trade, development, and security initiatives with Africa?
How have the “just cause” principles of R2P impacted Canada’s partnership with the Africa Union?
In what way have Canadian security contributions in Africa changed alongside political leadership shifts in Canada?
“Canadians need to understand that in the future, and sooner than we think, we will need Africa more than Africa will need us.”
What role does the “Cheetah Generation” play in the continued growth of trade and economic development in Africa?
In what context should the current trade environment between Canada and Africa be viewed?
What role can the private sector play, both independently and in partnership with NGOs, in formalizing and organizing trade markets in Africa?
“Perhaps what is required is not a further proliferation of legal codes and regulations, but a re-imaging of those we already have and a refocussing of efforts on leveraging natural resources to create broad-based economic opportunities.”
How have Africa’s mining regimes evolved since the post-independence era?
What development impact has the economic growth of resource industries in various African nations had at the local level?
What role, positive and negative, do good-governance initiatives play in the resource-extraction industries in Africa?
“There are many villains in the story of conflict diamonds, but there are heroes as well, many of them African.”
What role has Canada played in the United Nations’ efforts surrounding conflict diamonds?
What is the Kimberly Process and what impact has it had on the global governance of diamond mining?
What development issues lay at the root, not just of conflict diamonds, but of the economic and social disarray in the alluvial diamond fields?
“Rather than focusing on things that can 'fly the Canadian flag,' aid is generally more effective when it supports recipient government-led programs, which usually involve pooled funding, often with other donors. Such programs are definitely less 'photogenic,' but it does not follow that their impact is any lesser.”
How has Canadian aid, specifically official development assistance (ODA), to Africa evolved over the past few decades with shifts in Canadian political leadership?
Geostrategies, commercial interests, global prestige, altruism — what motivates Canadian aid and policy initiatives focused on ODA to Africa?
“Non-traditional providers’ different delivery of aid, and the new types of aid-related relationships they are establishing with African countries, has the potential to redefine the nature of development cooperation in Africa.”
How does the provision of aid by NTPs differ from the approaches undertaken by traditional donors?
How are Brazil and China engaging in development in Africa and what interests shape the context of this aid?
Delivery, relationships, and motivations – how are new standards set by “horizontal” aid partnerships impacting Canada’s approach to development cooperation in Africa?
“In the current Canadian political climate, CSOs need to find new ways to work more closely together, involving African counterparts, in the education and organization of Canadians in their communities in understanding the implications of current Canadian policies.”
Historically, how have Canadian non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations engaged in Africa and under what motivations?
What tensions exist between international NGOs, CSOs and local organizations in operating in a common space?
How has the engagement between African and Canadian CSOs evolved and what impact has the government’s interests and motivations had on these relationships?
“The African Development Bank (AfDB) is important for African countries, politically as well as financially. It is an institution where Canada played a significant role historically, and which could provide an avenue for greater Canadian engagement with the continent as its development accelerates.”
What is the The African Development Bank (AfDB) and what role does it play in development programs across Africa?
How can the AfDB facilitate stronger Canadian political engagement across the continent?
“If the Harper government thought MNCH was an issue beyond politics, this proved a significant miscalculation. Its championing of maternal health, while simultaneously prevaricating on funding for family planning and later confirming that government funds would not be used to support safe, legal abortions, plunged it directly into the fraught arena of reproductive rights and gender equality.”
What political interests and motivations impacted the MI’s focus on maternal newborn child health?
How can the Harper government’s focus on MNCH at the Huntsville G8 Summit be viewed in relation to their weaker stance on other gender-relevant areas within its aid policy?
How have the implementation process and wider changes to the aid program influenced the impact and sustainability of the MI?
“In comparison to health research initiatives in Africa emanating from other high-income countries, most notably the United States and some European countries, Canada’s profile is relatively small. It can be argued that this is all the more reason for the Canadian health research community to think about how its contributions can be most effective, and perhaps even distinctive.”
Historically, how has Canada contributed to health research related to Africa?
How can Canada contribute more effectively to aligning heath research investments with national priorities and systems in partnership with African countries?
How can Canada’s expertise in knowledge transfer (KT) address issues related to the “Know-Do Gap”?
“Canada’s development support over the past half century has, in many ways, played a path-breaking role in Africa in general, and francophone Africa in particular. Canada’s bilingualism and the strong engagement of Quebec’s academic and development communities give Canada a special role to play in francophone Africa. ”
What are the origins of and motivations linked to Canadian international development philosophy, particularly those related to francophone Africa?
What contributions has Canada made in terms of research support and economic development in francophone Africa?
“Future collaboration between African and Canadian researchers may be better assured by shifting support from external assistance, where support for research is typically a corollary of other development objectives toward mainstreaming it through those federal and provincial government programs that finance it directly.”
What challenges is Sub-Saharan Africa facing as undergraduate enrollment continues to increase?
How are Canadian universities engaging with Africa and how has this engagement shifted alongside global academic and development trends?
Based on intellectual symmetry and shared intellectual interests, should major federal funders of research in Canada be doing more to support academics in Africa, if so, what form could such a grant program take?