OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) - At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will conduct State visits to the Republic of Ghana, from May 13 to 16; the Republic of Botswana, from May 16 to 19; and the Republic of South Africa, from May 20 to 22, 2013.
"Sharon and I are looking forward to our State visits to Ghana, Botswana and South Africa to reinforce Canada's continued engagement in Africa," said His Excellency. "My meetings with government officials and civil society will provide an opportunity to underscore Canada's interests in further strengthening its commercial and education ties with all three countries, as well as to highlight good governance, the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and human rights. Reinforcing our existing partnerships and assessing opportunities to create new ones is essential for greater cooperation between Canadians and Africans."
His Excellency will be joined by parliamentarians; and an accompanying delegation of Canadians who will enhance people-to-people ties with their Ghanaian, Botswana and South African counterparts. These exchanges will further develop the wide-ranging and multi-faceted relationship with Africa, a major economic player and priority market for Canada, and will provide greater visibility for bilateral co-operation initiatives in various sectors, particularly in strategies promoting innovation, economic development and education in all three countries.
State Visit to Ghana - May 13 to 16
In the capital city of Accra, Their Excellencies will be officially welcomed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. During meetings with the President, government officials, and civil society, the Governor General will underscore Ghana's good will and progress on governance, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. He will also witness first-hand the impact of the Canadian International Development Agency's involvement in an agricultural research project on maize at the Crops Research Institute in Kumasi, and the success story of Canadian Kathy Knowles, who built a library and literacy program for disadvantaged children out of a 40-foot container in Accra. Furthermore, His Excellency will help promote Canada's investment interests and trade collaboration at a business networking luncheon with Ghanaian and Canadian leaders in the capital city, and during a one-day visit in the Ashanti Region, in Kumasi.
State Visit to the Republic of Botswana - May 16 to 19
Upon their arrival in Gabarone, Their Excellencies will be welcomed by the President of the Republic of Botswana. The Governor General will highlight the strong trade and business relations in the extractive industry and the importance of corporate social responsibility during a visit to the Karowe Diamond Mine, owned by Lucara Diamond Corporation based in Vancouver. There will also be an opportunity to acknowledge Canada's support for the fight against HIV/AIDS during visits to both the Tebelopele HIV Testing and Counselling Centre and Stepping Stones International, an after-school community outreach program serving orphaned and vulnerable adolescents and their caregivers. In addition, His Excellency will meet with Canadian volunteers from World University Service of Canada, a key education partner for Canada in Botswana. Both countries have developed strong defence relations through the Department of National Defence's (DND) Military Training and Cooperation Program. Many senior members of the Botswana Defence Force have been trained in Canada, and Botswana will deliver Canadian-designed peacekeeping programs to other countries in the region. As commander-in-chief of Canada, the Governor General will reinforce the continued assistance offered by DND in his address to staff college students and army staff at the Botswana Defence Force Staff College.
State Visit to the Republic of South Africa - May 20 to 22
While in Cape Town, the Governor General will meet with the President and senior ministers and discuss the progress made in South Africa since the end of apartheid to build a democratic and inclusive society. He will emphasize the importance of Canadian co-operation in Africa's growth, underscore the development of education and industry partnerships, and stress the need to respect diversity, pluralism and service to society. The Governor General will be the first Canadian representative of the Head of State to address a joint session of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces at the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. In Johannesburg, the Governor General will speak to South African and Canadian business leaders at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the largest exchange on the African continent.
Visits abroad by a governor general play an important role in Canada's relations with other countries. They are highly valuable as they help broaden bilateral relations and exchanges among peoples.
Members of the public can follow the Governor General's State visits to the Republic of Ghana, the Republic of Botswana and the Republic of South Africa online at www.gg.ca, where speeches and photos will be posted.
The detailed itinerary and the accompanying delegation will be published at a later date.
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