Growth that works for everyone

Canada has identified inclusive growth as an area for action because it is central to poverty reduction. However, inclusive growth, development and sustainable peace are not possible unless women and girls are valued and empowered. Our international assistance will help build a more inclusive and prosperous world in which gender equality is achieved and women and girls equally contribute to and benefit from economic opportunities.

Canada will support inclusive economic growth that helps the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized generate, participate, and benefit from economic activity. This includes support for sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, producer associations, and cooperatives. It will also mean support for the development of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) and access to decent work, particularly for women.

Inclusive growth: Expanding the benefits

Over the past three decades, the world has made impressive gains in reducing poverty. Economic growth has helped lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty in the developing world. In many countries, economic growth has resulted in increased incomes, better access to goods and services, and improved living standards. The private sector, which creates nine out of ten jobs in developing and emerging countries, is essential to this growth. At the same time, millions of people around the world continue to face poverty and inequality. An estimated 10.7 % of the world’s population (766 million people) still lives in extreme poverty on less than $US1.90 a day on average. The benefits of economic growth have not reached everyone equally, especially women.

A consensus has emerged that a new approach to economic growth and development is required for poverty reduction and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which addresses decent work and economic growth. There should be better income distribution and improved access to and management of human, financial and natural resources.

Focusing on economically empowering women and youth offers a real way of making sure growth reach the poorest and the most vulnerable. It will also address the gender gaps that hold back growth and perpetuate poverty.

Promoting women’s economic empowerment and rights

Canada believes that inclusive growth requires the full and equal participation of women in the economy. In most countries, gender inequalities are greater among the poor, particularly in the areas of education, health and economic opportunities.  Women face greater burdens of unpaid work and have less access to resources and financial services than men, undermining their ability to undertake paid economic activities. In developing countries, women’s work is concentrated in the agricultural sector and in low-paying and gender-segregated jobs with few social protections.

Yet they have the ability to transform their economies, their societies and their households if provided with equal access to resources and education, as well as a more equal distribution of unpaid care work. Investing in women and girls is the right thing to do to fully realize gender equality. It is also the smart way to reduce poverty and inequality by ensuring that they have the opportunities to contribute to and benefit equally from economic growth.

To advance women’s economic empowerment and rights, Canada will:

Improving our effectiveness: Leveraging investment

Mobilizing the estimated $5.7 trillion necessary to attain the Sustainable Development Goals will require a coordinated international effort and the targeting of Official Development Assistance (ODA) resources to where they are needed most. It will also require new partnerships and initiatives that can leverage additional financing and investment. Fortunately, today the financial resources that can support development are greater and more diverse than in the past.

Canada will actively seek to leverage investments in developing countries, drawing more effectively on all available resource flows. This includes new funding modalities such as “blended finance”, repayable contributions, and other initiatives that encourage private sector investment and co-financing.

Canada has also launched a new Development Finance Institution (DFI), a subsidiary of Export Development Canada. With an initial capitalization of $300 million, it will draw upon a range of financing instruments to support private sector investment in developing countries, with a particular focus on clean growth as well as women and youth-led businesses. By doing so, it will leverage commercial investments to support initiatives that are aligned with Canada’s development priorities.

More integrated assistance: Progressive trade and development

More integrated trade and development initiatives can also help reduce poverty and inequality. As a trading nation, Canada’s economic vitality depends on diversifying trade and identifying new markets for its goods and services. Canadian investment in these markets can create jobs and improve incomes.

These countries can become Canada’s future trading partners, creating opportunities for our own economic and middle class. The Government of Canada is developing a progressive trade agenda which will help ensure that gender equality is fully considered in trade negotiations.

More responsive assistance: Effective tools, innovation and research

Effective tools, innovation and research will be essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals/Inclusive Growth. More responsive international assistance also requires more efficient and effective funding tools.  Canada will expand its range of tools instruments and funding mechanisms to enable joint program assistance with other donors, multi-stakeholders partnerships, and leveraged as well as “blended” finance. Canada will also draw on and develop new funding instruments to encourage innovative cooperation and smart experimentation, such as prize/challenges, micro-funding, incentive-based funding and joint program mechanisms.

Global Affairs Canada will build innovation into our assistance programs and financing mechanisms, seeking new ways of working and new partnerships that can increase development impact, including through innovative funding partnerships and greater investment in research.

More effective partnerships: Engaging the private sector

Canada recognizes the fundamental role of the private sector in driving economic growth through trade and investment. The private sector is also an important source of expertise. Canada will support developing countries in their efforts to create stable rules-based systems that can attract investment and enable businesses to thrive.

Canada will engage in private sector partnerships that attract co-financing and investment, help develop solutions to development challenges, and develop more opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable to benefit from economic growth.

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