Canada supports peace training in West Africa

Ottawa - The Honourable Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation, and the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced a $3-million contribution to enhance West African peace support capacity. The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, which provides training and research on peace support operations, will coordinate this project in partnership with the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre in Ghana.
This project is part of the Canada/West Africa Peace and Security Initiative, which was originally announced by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, Alberta in June 2002 as part of the Canada Fund for Africa. The Fund is intended to support the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the G8 Africa Action Plan.

"Canada's support will enable the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre to provide relevant and effective training for military personnel and civilians, strengthening regional security and making communities safer," said Minister Whelan during a six day visit to West Africa. "The Government of Canada is delivering on its pledge to help Africans prevent and resolve violent conflict."

"Peace and security are essential for sustainable development in Africa," underlined Minister Graham. "Canada is pleased to contribute to strengthening West African peace and security capacity, which will assist the region to manage conflicts, and to respond more effectively to emerging crises."

The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, which has extensive experience in implementing peace support training programs in Africa, will support the development of a curriculum that responds primarily to West African peace and security priorities and that boosts the skills of African trainers at the Kofi Annan Centre.

Assistance to the Centre is part of Canada's $15-million commitment to support peace and security among the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS is a regional African institution that is playing an increasing role in peacekeeping in regional conflict situations. Minister Whelan is in Africa visiting Senegal, Ghana and Mali. The three countries are among the nine low-income countries that have been selected as countries of focus for increased aid from CIDA. All have demonstrated an ability to use aid effectively through commitments to improve governance, respect human rights and end corruption.

During her visit, Minister Whelan met with President J. A. Kufuor to discuss Ghana's development plans in the context of the New Partnership for Africa's Development and CIDA's intention to enhance its partnership with Ghana.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2003 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.


Renée Filiatrault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: (819) 953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: (819) 953-6534

Isabelle Savard
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Telephone: (613) 995-1851