Address by Paula Caldwell St-Onge, Chair of the Board of Directors

Esteemed guests, ladies and gentleman, dignitaries, all protocols observed. I also want to recognize our Board members who are here:  Pierre Boivin, Wayne Floreani, Peter Braid and pass on regrets from our Vice Chair Mukani Moyo and other Board members who were unable to attend.

Here we are, standing firm after 30 years of existence, and rapidly expanding our programming across African markets.  You will be happy to hear I won’t however go over all we have done the last 30 years.

Every year seems to break new records:

Our Chamber of Business this year alone has been present and has hosted forums in South Africa, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just this month we move from this evening’s program to the 3-day Sudbury program tomorrow with MineAfrica – Wayne Floreani.  We are then going to Washington, DC - one block from the White House for our inaugural Canada-US Forum on Africa on May 22 followed by a trip to Montreal to speak at the Force Leadership Africain Conference, before returning to Toronto again on May 27th to host the Parliamentary Secretary Sidhu in a Round table discussion on Canada-Africa relations.  In the fall our Country member Zimbabwe has secured a letter from President Emmerson Mnangagwa for us to Co-host a Canada-Africa Business Conference in Harare.  We will then be back in time to host our Africa Accelerating event in Ottawa in November   – to close off the year.

As a Chamber responsive to our members, we are writing our event program schedule every day.

The Board, together with the President, will continue to work tirelessly to accelerate Canada-Africa trade and investment through world-class networking and information-sharing events, building on the foundations of those who began this organization 30 years ago and who’ve been key to its history, we have Stephen Pincus, Partner at Goodmans who was our Founding Chair, and Bruce Shapiro – Past President – here with us today.

We continue to welcome heads of companies, governments and think tanks who appreciate the quality of content we curate, all thanks to our sponsors and members.

The Chamber is recognized as a serious player and has been called more than once as expert witness before Canada’s Parliament to convey the importance of Canada-Africa trade.

Ladies and gentlemen, the African growth story is real and Canada must work hard to continue to serve as a trusted partner, while standing ready to work with our private sector allies around the world on joint-partnerships for African projects. Every opportunity to work as a partner to our counterparts in Africa is a privilege and an invitation we treasure, as a proudly Canadian Chamber.

It is now my honour to call up for introductory remarks our headline sponsor of this amazing 30th Anniversary Year, Gabriel Tshitende, of Elephant Trade-Services - one of the top ranked companies covering the natural resource sector, as Mining Weekly pointed out.

I met Gabriel in the Lualaba province of the DRC this year, in his home city of Kolwezi, where Elephant Trade-Services is headquartered.  We received a warm welcome from the Governor Fifi Massouka Saini, all her Ministers and the private sector.  To note that is where two of our Canadian mining companies operate – Ivanhoe and Glencore.

Mr. Gabriel Tshitende, you’ve built a world class company in undertaking electrical and automation services for major projects in the DRC that are global success stories.  The next step of course in your expansion plans will be to list on the Toronto stock exchange! I look forward to our next event with you to be there!

It is my honour to welcome you – Mr. Gabriel Tshitende, founder and CEO of Elephant Trade Services.


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Watch Africa Accelerating 2021

Three days of leading speakers and cutting-edge insights. From Heads of State and global CEOs to innovative SMEs, export opportunities and much more, it all took place from 26 to 28 October

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