Minister Sajjan announces $68 million in international assistance funding on trip to Rwanda and Kenya

News release

May 26, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, has concluded a visit to Rwanda and Kenya focused on the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, gender equality, food security and Canadian development and humanitarian programming in East Africa.

While in Rwanda, Minister Sajjan paid his respects to the victims of the genocide committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

He met with Rwandan president Paul Kagame to discuss the ongoing work and cooperation of Canada and Rwanda in preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers by armed forces and armed groups. Minister Sajjan and President Kagame also talked about regional peace and security issues, as well as peacekeeping.

The Minister participated in a round table focused on child soldiers and the Vancouver Principles at the Dallaire Institute’s African Centre of Excellence on Children, Peace and Security. There, he announced that Canada is in the process of planning support for a new project proposed by the Dallaire Institute to promote and operationalize the Vancouver Principles in sub-Saharan Africa.

He visited the office of EarthEnable, an innovative project funded by Canada through Grand Challenges Canada, which provides clean, durable and affordable earthen floors to reduce diarrheal disease and parasitic infections in Rwanda.

He also attended two events hosted by Giants of Africa: the Moving Sports Forward Forum and the official unveiling of a new basketball court in Kigali, Rwanda.

While in Kenya, the Minister visited staff members at the High Commission of Canada in Kenya to thank them for the hard work they do in representing Canada and serving Canadians. He spoke about his priorities, particularly in relation to food security and the importance of Canada’s relationship with African countries, and he answered questions from staff members.

Minister Sajjan travelled to Kakuma Refugee Camp to learn more about humanitarian needs in the region, including food security and education. He met with local authorities and residents of the camp, including farmers, students and teachers. He also spoke with Canada-funded partners working in the camp: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme.

He met with Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of the Interior and Coordination of National Government of Kenya, to discuss shared development cooperation priorities, including gender equality, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and humanitarian issues. He announced $25 million in funding to support TVET in Kenya’s emerging blue economy sector.

The Minister stopped by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) to see the work being done by both ICIPE and the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA). Canada has been supporting PABRA, an initiative of the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, since its establishment in 1996. At ICIPE, he engaged with stakeholders working on East Africa’s food security issues from a food research perspective and focusing on improved bean varieties introduced by PABRA as well as value-added bean products manufactured by women entrepreneurs. Canada continues to work with partners to support innovation as we deal with the climate change crisis and food insecurity.

He met with representatives of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to discuss their work in Kenya, including efforts related to food security, economic growth and grassroots development. He also accompanied them to Frigoken, the largest export-oriented vegetable processing company in East Africa, where he saw AKDN’s development efforts firsthand.

Minister Sajjan met with contestants, organizers and producers of the reality television show, Ms. President. Funded in part by Canada, this popular show trains women to be political candidates and promotes women as strong leaders. He encouraged women and girls, in all their diversity, to participate in all levels of politics and announced $37 million in funding for 4 new projects aimed at empowering women.

He also promoted women’s rights in Kenya by visiting a call centre that provides help to victims of gender-based violence. He talked about women’s rights issues, particularly gender-based violence, including sexual violence, and Canada’s support for women’s rights organizations.

In Kenya, the Minister met with peace and security stakeholders who are active in Somalia—including stakeholders from both non-governmental and multilateral organizations—and participated in a discussion on the women, peace and security dimension of Somalia’s security and development challenges.

During his trip, Minister Sajjan also announced $6 million in humanitarian funding for crisis-affected people, including refugees, in East Africa.


“By working together with our partners in Rwanda and Kenya, we can support them in their efforts to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient East Africa. Through the immensely talented and innovative people of Rwanda and Kenya, we can help support local solutions to mitigate crises such as drought, increase food security and prevent conflict. Our work together can ensure that this growth is inclusive for everyone, from women and girls to refugees, and that opportunities for participation and fulfillment exist.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, Canada provided more than 2 million doses of vaccines to Rwanda and 459,300 doses to Kenya.

  • Canada launched the ‘Together for Learning’ campaign in February 2021, to promote quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for refugee, other forcibly-displaced and host community children and youth. Building on the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries led by the G7 summit in 2018, this campaign contributes to the global response to COVID-19 and the current global education crisis, of which Canada pledged $400 million.

  • Rwanda is one of three countries benefitting from Canada’s “Transformational Solutions to Unpaid Care” program implemented by UN Women, which is contributing to Canada’s priority to address inequalities with respect to paid and unpaid care work.

  • With the support of Canada, women’s rights organizations have mapped, validated and catalogued the over 650 women’s rights organization across Kenya on a website accessible to the public as a means to support their work, raise awareness and network these organizations.

  • Canada’s development assistance to Rwanda and Kenya is consistent with our Feminist International Assistance Policy and with both countries’ development needs and priorities. In fiscal year 2020 to 2021, Canada provided $38.86 million in international assistance to Rwanda and $99.39 million to Kenya.

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Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

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