As part of Canada’s re-engagement with Africa, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, will tomorrow conclude a four-day visit to Ghana along with Right To Play athlete ambassadors Kaylyn Kyle, Olympic bronze medalist for the Canadian women’s soccer team, and Joannie Rochette, Olympic bronze medalist and six-time Canadian national champion figure skater.

These Canadian athletes are in their own right powerful role models for girls and ambassadors for the transformative power of play and sports.

Ghana and Canada have a long and productive history of cooperation and partnership for development. This partnership has helped Ghana achieve remarkable progress over the last decades in its fight against poverty and the establishment of good governance. Canada will continue its close collaboration with Ghana as its new government seeks to further reduce poverty and promote economic growth, with a particular focus on the agricultural sector and women. In Ghana 80% of farmers live under the poverty line and women and girls continue to face significant social and economic barriers.

During their stay, the Minister and the Canadian Olympic medalists visited a number of initiatives supported by Canada to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the most vulnerable and the success of Canada’s approach to development assistance. Together, they witnessed how Canada’s assistance is helping to protect women and youth and increase access to health services and quality education. They also had the opportunity to engage with youth and witness the unique contributions of play-based learning and other innovative teaching approaches in Ghana that are supported by Canada and implemented by Right To Play. By training local teachers on how to integrate sport and play within their curriculum, this results in improved participation and interaction of all students, including girls.

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To promote growth that works for everyone, the Minister announced $145 million in funding for two initiatives that will:

  • modernize Ghana’s agriculture and provide 13 million people working in the sector, of whom 5 million are women, with the knowledge, training and skills they need to generate more profit for their families and create jobs within their communities; and
  • provide support, including training and loans, to over 18,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, half of which are women owned, to expand their businesses.