07 September 2012, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization (APO), OTTAWA, Canada – The Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino will travel to the Sahel Region of West Africa, with a visit to Burkina Faso, and to Nigeria, from September 8 to 14, 2012.
“A combination of drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, and insecurity have taken a tremendous toll on millions of people living in West Africa.” said Minister Fantino. “On my first trip as Minister of International Cooperation, I look forward to seeing firsthand the work achieved by our humanitarian partners and raising awareness of this humanitarian crisis and our Government’s Sahel Crisis Matching Fund.”
On August 7, 2012, the Government of Canada announced the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund to provide additional support to those affected by the food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. The government will match funds raised from August 7 to September 30, 2012. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations.
During the visit to the Sahel Region, Minister Fantino will be accompanied by heads of the following Canadian humanitarian organizations: Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada; Dave Toycen, World Vision Canada; Jim Cornelius, Canadian Food Grains Bank; and David Morely, UNICEF Canada.
While in Burkina Faso, Minister Fantino will meet with government officials and with humanitarian partners, including Canadian non-governmental organizations and international humanitarian agencies. The discussions will highlight the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region, the ongoing conflict in Mali and the leadership role Burkina Faso is playing in helping to resolve this conflict. Minister Fantino will also visit CIDA projects focusing on humanitarian relief efforts, such as the treatment of malnutrition and the provision of water and sanitation services.
In Nigeria, Minister Fantino will meet with the Nigerian authorities to discuss health issues facing women and children, and how support from the people of Canada is helping to strengthen primary health care systems and reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in Nigeria. He will also be discussing the deepening of Canada’s international cooperation with Nigeria in the area of economic growth.