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____ Thursday October 29 , 2015 ____



EDC opens representation in Johannesburg to help Canadian companies sell and invest in Africa

Ottawa - Export Development Canada (EDC), formalized its representation in Africa with the opening of its permanent office in Johannesburg in order to help Canadian companies take advantage of the growing opportunities in the sub-Saharan region. "We are deepening our roots in Africa now so that we can help Canadian companies of all sizes link into the supply chains of upcoming infrastructure, oil and gas, and mining project opportunities," said Mairead Lavery, Senior Vice-President, Business Development, EDC. "We will do this by focusing on developing relationships with the major South African companies who control supply chains that expand throughout the sub-Saharan region. Specifically, we'll focus on rapidly growing markets like Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, and secondarily on markets with near-term potential like Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Gabon and Tanzania."

Key sectors where the needs of African companies and Canadian expertise match up well include the extractive sectors (mining, oil and gas, resources), infrastructure (for example, road and ports engineering), telecommunications, clean technology, transportation and agriculture. Light manufacturing and healthcare/life sciences are emerging sectors for EDC in the midterm. "We will also continue to support Canadian companies already established in Africa to expand the number of other Canadian firms in their supply chains," said Lavery. "The capital-intensive demands of large infrastructure projects in particular present a number of opportunities for us to bring our significant financing capacity to the region, to the benefit of Canadian companies operating there."

For Canadian companies, South Africa can represent a valuable foothold on the continent. According to the World Economic Forum's Africa Competitiveness Report, South Africa ranked as the most innovative and sophisticated business environment in Africa, and 36th worldwide – right behind Spain. According to EDC's Chief Economist, Peter Hall, South Africa is still a land of promise (read his Weekly Commentary on South Africa).

EDC helped facilitate more than USD 7.4 billion in business between African and Canadian companies – many of them small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – in the last five years and is looking to grow that number to USD 10 billion over the next 5 years.

EDC is the leader in helping Canadian companies to grow their business by selling outside of Canada. In addition to market knowledge and business connections, EDC provides commercial financing, insurance and bonding products to Canadian companies and their foreign customers to make it easier for both parties to do business with each other and to help grow Canadian trade overall.

In addition to Johannesburg, EDC now has permanent representations in Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Lima, Mexico City, Monterrey, Santiago, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, and Düsseldorf.

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