Today, Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, on behalf of Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced Canada’s support for a development project focused on maximising economic benefits for people in Burkina Faso. Minister Alexander made the announcement during his opening remarks at the 4th annual International Forum, hosted by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI).
‘‘The Harper government is committed to supporting women’s economic empowerment by providing skills training and job-creation opportunities to help transform the lives of those in greatest need,” said Minister Alexander. “By bringing together the expertise and resources of civil society and private business, we are building a strong foundation for new opportunities and growth.’’
Canada will provide funding to CECI for a project in Burkina Faso that will improve the productivity and competitiveness of the country’s rice industry to better respond to market demands and customer needs. Rice is one of the main food staples in the country. The project will also support the training and professionalisation of women who are employed as rice steamers, technically referred to as rice parboilers. Parboiling is a rice milling method that allows rice to retain 80 percent of its nutritional value. The project will benefit more than 5,000 women and indirectly benefit 15,000 women who work in the industry.
‘‘Canada is proud of its partnership with CECI and our shared commitment to helping women become economically self-sufficient and valuable contributors to their communities and families,’’ said Minister Paradis.
‘‘CECI thanks the Government of Canada for supporting this important project that promises to improve the living conditions of women in the poorest rural regions of Burkina Faso and provide skills training for greater and more lucrative employment opportunities for women working as rice parboilers,’’ said Claudia Black, Executive Director of CECI. ‘‘Assisting the rice production industry in Burkina Faso and empowering the women who work in this industry will help the country move toward stronger growth and poverty reduction.’’
This project reinforces Canada’s commitment to assist Burkina Faso to strengthen the foundations for sustainable economic growth, food security and the alleviation of poverty.