OTTAWA, Canada, November 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — During an official visit to Morocco, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, opened the new Canadian Embassy in Rabat in the presence of Ms. Mbarka Bouaida, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco. Minister Paradis also took this opportunity to meet with the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, Mr. Moulay Hafid Elalamy, to highlight the contribution of Canadian trade and investment in Morocco’s economic development.
Furthermore, Minister Paradis gave a speech at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University’s School of Governance and Economics in Rabat. He announced Canadian support worth $8 million for a UNICEF project whose goal is to increase the employability of the most vulnerable Moroccan youth.
“I am here in Rabat to reiterate the importance of the ties between Canada and Morocco,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada is, and will continue to be, a key partner of Morocco in its sustainable development efforts through skills training and job creation programs for youth, as well as through increased trade between our countries. The Government of Canada, and Canadian businesses and organizations are Morocco’s true allies in viable and shared economic growth. We strongly believe that the development of Morocco depends first and foremost on greater prosperity and better youth employability.”
Minister Paradis was visiting Morocco as part of a tour of Africa, where he will be attending the Summit of La Francophonie in Dakar, Senegal.
• Morocco is a key partner for Canada in La Francophonie and in the Middle East and North Africa region. It is also a key partner in the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
• Canada’s development assistance to Morocco dates from 1963. A particularly close partnership has been established in the areas of educational reform, professional development and youth employability, which is the subject of the project announced today.
• In 2013, bilateral trade between our two countries totalled nearly $635.2 million.
• Canada’s commercial activity in Morocco is diversified, focusing not only on exporting merchandise and mining assets, but also on establishing partnerships with teaching institutions and setting up franchises and other global value chain activities.
• Canada and Morocco are engaged in free trade negotiations, and such an agreement would strengthen our trade and investment links. Morocco is a gateway to Africa for Canada, and we invite them to fast-track these negotiations.
• Morocco is one of the priority countries identified in Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan and Canada’s International Education Strategy.
• Approximately 72,000 Canadians are of Moroccan origin, which makes it the second-largest North African diaspora community in Canada.