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Harper Government Consults Experts on Private Sector-Led International Development

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/11/13 -- In an effort to improve prosperity in developing countries, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary for International Cooperation and Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade today convened a roundtable to engage Canadian expertise on ways to leverage the private sector for development. The private sector, including firms from Canada, is the driving force behind sustainable economic growth and as such can play an important role in reducing poverty around the world.

"Our Government is deepening our engagement with the private sector to achieve lasting development results that move individuals, families and countries from poverty to prosperity," said Minister Fantino. "Sustained economic growth in developing countries will improve living conditions on the ground and help develop business environments that have the potential to become new trade and investment markets for Canada in the future."

"Some of Canada's most coveted trading partners were until recently recipients of Canadian development investments," said Parliamentary Secretary Keddy. "By connecting businesses to markets and encouraging investment, innovation, training and trade we are helping people in developing nations grow their own economies which create more jobs and opportunities for Canadian exporters."

"The experience of the Aga Khan Development Network in Africa and Asia demonstrates that the private sector can make a significant contribution to improving quality of life, especially for the poor," said Mr. Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada. "Our work is helping to identify new business models that embrace both commercial and development objectives."

"We welcome this consultation initiative," said Ms. Anne Gaboury, President and CEO of Developpement international Desjardins. "For more than 40 years, Desjardins has been collaborating with CIDA to increase access to financial services in developing countries. We think it is essential that our efforts be directed to supporting the development of local assets, an essential condition to sustainable economic growth."

In November 2012, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development tabled a report entitled Driving Inclusive Economic Growth: The Role of the Private Sector in International Development. Today's consultation will further inform the Government of Canada's response to this report.

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