President's Report: Reflecting on 2023

 Accelerating Canada-Africa trade and investment through world-class networking and information-sharing events

                               Table of Contents

                                Member Benefits
                                2023 Foundation for 2024
                                Concluding Remarks


The Chamber continues to grow and this past year we’ve reached into the thousands of in-person delegates, with hundreds of thousands attending via livebroadcast or viewing our recordings - to say nothing of the great impact we’ve been fortunate to enjoy in the media space: Chamber events and news carried in hundreds of publications.

The past year’s program of events has been a privilege to deliver. I continue to enjoy the support of our wonderful board directors and Senior Advisory Council, with special thanks to our Chair, Paula Caldwell-St Onge, and Past President Bruce Shapiro – who respectively serve on these two bodies of the Chamber. Of course, our Treasurer is brilliant. The support, insight and advice of Thys Terblanche has been key to our ability to build and grow the organization. I believe we are on firm foundations for the next 30 years, as we prepare to celebrate 30 years of existence this coming April.

From the establishment of the Chamber, by Founding Chair Stephen Pincus, we had the support of Goodmans LLP from day 1. For nearly 30 years the firm has been a home to countless events and that was no different this year. Under Randy McAuley, a partner at Goodmans LLP, we’ve held what I believe has been the most impactful Africa Accelerating to date. Even country leaders chose the forum for vital discussions impacting trade and investment. Without Randy McAuley and the brilliant team at Goodmans delivering Africa Accelerating 2023, the year would have been nothing close to the success we able to enjoy. Thank you Goodmans!

During Africa Accelerating we heard from leaders, including Prime Minister Trudeau, Kenyan President William Ruto and Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Tom Thabane. In person, Minister Mary Ng and DRC Deputy Prime Minister Vital Kamerhe Lwa Kanyiginyi Nkingi joined us, with Hatch’s Joe Lombard as keynote speaker; and that was only the opening session of a 3-day program that included numerous deliverables.

To cite one example, Elephant Trade, who enabled the DRC delegation’s attendance, is the first committed (and primary) sponsor of our 30-Year Anniversary Celebration this year, as well as the High-Level DRC Visit to the Lualaba Province next month, thanks to the leadership of Mr. Gabriel Tshitende. 

Far more extensive details on this event and dozens of others are enclosed with summaries of each event contained in this report, for which we thank all our supporters. In addition to public events, it has been my privilege to work with members on a daily basis for private events or engagement requested of the Chamber, alongside planning our programs, facilitating connections and assisting expanding media reach – all in the context of our generously subsidized member benefits.

We do not receive government funding and thank our generous supporters for ensuring we can deliver our mission - as a proudly independent Not-for-Profit organization, dedicated to accelerating trade and investment through world-class networking and information-sharing events. Our membership rates (and all the benefits listed in this report) are provided thanks to the generous support of several private sector members who sponsored the Chamber in 2023, with commitments made in 2022.

We thus gratefully applaud Hatch, 6ix, APO Group, ARSP, Ausenco, B2Gold, Bramex Ltd, Cypher Environmental, Elephant Trade, EKMM, Ethiopian Airlines, Goodmans LLP, Ivanhoe Mines, Lambano Full Services, Lucara Diamond, MEC Capital, MineAfrica and SDF Consulting.

The special membership rate for countries, affording Embassies and High Commissions the chance to receive and use Chamber member benefits, is likewise enabled by our sponsors. Represented by the Ambassadors and High Commissioners to Canada, we are thus pleased to acknowledge our Country Members through their respective Missions in Canada: the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kingdom of Lesotho, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Kenya, Kingdom of Morocco, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

While other countries have prevailing legislation that does not enable joining the Chamber as a country member per se, we enjoy excellent participation from numerous African countries and the African Union, particularly during our program with MineAfrica Inc at PDAC each year – which remains the largest Africa-focused mining event in North America.

Sectors represented in our 2023 program of events include but were not limited natural resources, energy, education, infrastructure, advisory, education and financing, while the information-shairng mandate of the Chamber was well-covered, with deep discussions on economic policy and business analysis, comprising the sharing of both best practice and insights respectively.

In terms of industries, we are responsive to and driven by our members. However, special attention to FinTech, education and agriculture are areas of opportunity where I believe we can take an active lead. We are actively exploring new programs in all three areas, having held previous events in the past that underscore potential.

Public Events for Members

Africa Accelerating 2023: Accelerating Canada-Africa Trade and Investment People, Partnerships and Policies from 10-12 October.

The annual highlight on the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business calendar brought together decision-makers in one of the world’s most dynamic cities, opened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Hundreds participated in some (or all) of the 3-day program in-person, joined by thousands who registered online.                     

View the 2023 Program

View Photos from the Conference

Minister Ng concluded participation at the Africa Accelerating conference “The Africa Accelerating conference helps drive Canada-Africa business development and deliver responsible economic growth for Canada and Africa’s shared prosperity. Today we reaffirmed Canada’s efforts to provide opportunities for Africans and Canadians alike to benefit from trade and a resilient economy” said Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, in an official statement from the Government of Canada.

View the Recordings

Day 1: Champions of Accelerated Canada-Africa Business Development: Meet the key players delivering Canada-Africa private sector success in two-way trade and investment across multiple markets and industries. View Day 1

Day 2: Responsible Economic Growth: How business operations deliver on the promises of free trade and social well-beingFrom entrepreneurs to corporate leaders, exclusive cases of how best private investment of all sizes dynamically delivers economic growth, grounded in free trade and open markets. View Day 2

Day 3: The Role of Knowledge Partners in the Canada-Africa Growth StoryShowcasing market insights, academic thought leadership & grass-roots ideas, from think tanks in Canada and Africa. View Day 3

Elephant Trade Inc, a leading engineering, construction and maintenance firm, committed the first sponsorship of our 30-Year Anniversary Indaba Gala Celebration in Toronto this year, as well as to host the Chamber's first DRC Leadership Visit to the Lualaba Province, which will immediately follow the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

Economic Cooperation Strategy Briefing: The Chamber was delighted to host this special session on 5 July 2023, open to all, for dialogue around the latest announcements on the Canada-Africa Economic Cooperation Strategy.  


Trade Mission to Canada by Kenyan Companies: The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business has issued a proposal for a 3-day program from 27 to 29 June 2023 across three Canadian cities. 

Chamber - African Union Commission (AUC) Roundtable in Ottawa on the occasion of the AUC's Official Visit to Canada.

Our Programming during PDAC: Hundreds joined North America's biggest African mining event: African countries, mining projects, companies, products and services took the spotlight at the sold-out 24th Annual African Mining Breakfast & MineAfrica's 21st Annual Investing in African Mining Seminar during PDAC 2023. Marna Cloete, President of Ivanhoe Mines, delivered the keynote address.

The program included the Annual African Mining Breakfast & Seminar, Francomine and evening VIP Reception for invited guests (sponsored by ARSP), among a host of other private and 1:1 engagements with members.

Chamber Board Chair addresses Franco-Mine 2023 during PDAC: Chair of the Board, Paula Caldwell St-Onge, addressed Franco-Mine this year at which both the Chamber and MineAfrica Inc were delighted to be a part.

AfCFTA's Significance - African Youth and the Diaspora: AfCFTA’s implementation puts Africa’s young people and women in prime position to become the drivers of a competitive and beneficial economy, through business investment and trade opportunities. This agreement implementation will empower millions and create an African market larger than before.

Our PDAC programming highlighted at the Mining Indaba: “The largest African mining event in North America provides you with an unparalleled opportunity to promote your country, company, African project, product or services to a senior-level, African-focused audience,’ says Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business, who delivered remarks at the Official Canadian Reception on the occasion of the Mining Indaba. 

Friends and Members Reception in Cape Town: On Friday 3 February we were delighted to welcome Trade Commissioners and Canadian and African companies for an evening of networking and engagement on business matchmaking. Keynote remarks by Karima-Catherine Goundiam - Founder and CEO, B2BeeMatch - formed the basis of interactive discussions, led by KC and moderated by Chamber President Garreth Bloor.

Ottawa Briefing with Nigeria's Bank of Industry: In January we were privileged to meet the Bank of Industry, during a visit of the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mr. Olukayode Pitan. Following opening remarks by His Excellency, High Commissioner Adeyinka Asekun, the discussion at the Chamber’s Ottawa office focused on the role of the bank and the opportunities for collaboration. The meeting welcomed members of the Bank’s leadership.

Roundtable with Global Affairs Canada: We were honoured to welcome Antoine Chevrier (Assistant Deputy Minister) and Susan Steffen (Director General) for a chance to discuss Canada-Africa trade and investment with our members in downtown Toronto, on 24 January 2023.

Mining Roundtable in Vancouver: The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business has been honoured to partner with MineAfrica Inc for the past 24 years in the Annual African Mining Breakfast and Seminar – the biggest African-focused mining event in North America. In appreciation of the support and prospective attendance of our members and sponsoring delegates next year, we are pleased to host this hour-long roundtable.

Member Benefits

Member benefits are designed to maximize member participation during our programs, in line with mission to accelerate Canada-Africa trade and investment through world-class networking and information-sharing events.

  • Two to four guests at ALL Chamber events each year, depending on your membership category.
  • Complimentary webinar using cutting edge technology, curation and promotion to over 12 500 on our database and tens of thousands more through, our virtual platform partner.
  • Dedicated media release through APO Media Group, reached hundreds of media outlets, as demonstrated in reports to each member using the service.
  • Free listing of member events and news of interest to fellow members through our database and on the Chamber website.
  • Membership runs for one year from the date you joined and can be renewed.
  • Our additional event packages for meetings and conferences are available to members, billed in addition to membership.

Media Coverage

Media coverage is a key benefit of ensuring events reach more than just those attending in-person. A sample of media coverage include these articles which were carried in hundreds of publications.

Cypher Environmental leads sustainability as a ‘model’ for Canada-Africa business leadership and excellence [Further Africa]

2nd Canada-Africa Business Conference to take place in Nairobi from 19-20 February 2024 [APA News]

Canada’s Minister Mary Ng to address ‘Africa Accelerating 2023’ on 10 October in Toronto [Zawya]

Statement on the Farewell of Her Excellency Viviane Bampassy, Delivered by Paula Caldwell St-Onge, Chair of the Board of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business [African Business]

Canada-Africa Chamber President congratulates Ethiopian Airlines’ Samson Arega [Times Aerospace]

Afrika Insights Inc joins The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business [Africa Business]

Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo in prime position for private sector collaboration [APO Media Group]

The biggest African mining event in North America showcases major successes in Canada-Africa mining collaboration [Business Ghana]

Preparations for the biggest African mining event in North America underway during the Mining Indaba [African Business]  

African Excellence Highlighted at the Canada-Africa Reception in Cape Town [AviationPros]  

Leading thinkers affirm Africa’s enormous potential and proven paths to prosperity [Zawya

Looking Ahead: 2023 Foundation for 2024

With our success this year, we’ve highlighted events for 2024, such as the VIP Visit to the DRC. This year’s program is, in my view, a direct reflection of 2023’s successes.

Among our events for 2024, we are pleased to present:

The Canada-Africa Chamber Program at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, February 3-7: Cape Town

DRC-Canada Leadership Visit, February 8-10: Kolwezi

2nd Canada-Africa Business Conference, February 19-20: Nairobi

25th Annual African Mining Breakfast and Seminar March 5: Toronto

30-Year Conference Celebration and Indaba Gala Reception: May 7: Toronto

Canada-Africa Business Forum, June 4-5: Washington, DC

3rd Canada-Africa Business Conference, October 1-3: Harare (TBC)

Africa Accelerating 2024, October 21-23: Gatineau, Quebec

Concluding Remarks

To all our Chamber members and especially our sponsors, thank you for another wonderful year. It is not just this year but the past 29 years as a whole which lead us into our 30th Anniversary this year.

Our Board of Directors continues to play its vital role in the Chamber’s work, while our Senior Advisory Council provides strategic direction. Thank you to each one of you. Further details on each of the aforementioned links provide more information on these outstanding individuals. I am also deeply grateful to the rest of the team, including those who serve on a commission basis in addition to your day jobs. Thank you to our contracted professional service providers and those sub-contracted in turn, who are key to our operations; including but not limited to accounting, IT, public relations for members, design work, event collateral, meeting venues, program support, marketing.

It is always risky signalling out a couple of examples, because one could speak for hours. However, this year, I will highlight just three:

  • SDF Financial seconded a new addition to our team, Mahvish Batool, who provides excellent operational supporting as we ramp up new programming.
  • Board Director Daniel Barankin once again facilitated $120 000 sponsorship for their 6ix platform, designed to ‘anyone, anywhere to invest in anything’. We received approximately 100 000 views on Africa Accelerating
  • MineAfrica Inc remains our single biggest overall sponsor over the past three decades, under the leadership of its President Wayne Floreani, a role previously held by Bruce Shapiro. MineAfrica Inc has underwritten Chamber events to de-risk new initiatives. All while also underwriting the significant costs of the annual African Mining Breakfast and seminar. Thank you!

While some in the Chamber serve on a commission basis in addition to their day jobs, and our professional contracted service providers help meet key deliverables, the majority of those active freely give of their time to serve members. Our sponsors carry the hard costs of events and operations that unlock the ability to deliver our mandate, debt-free as an organization and on a foundation that gets ever stronger as we grow.

Collectively over 40 remarkable individuals play an important role in the life of the Chamber, making a contribution either to our strategic direction, delivery or both – exemplified by our Board Chair, Paula Caldwell St-Onge.

Many ask how a full-time organization without any employees can deliver so much. Without doubt, it is a love of two great geographies – comprised of incredible people - that in partnership and collaboration stand to deliver an outsized contribution to our world today.

I endeavour to ensure the lowest overheads possible for sustainability, without comprising growth over the next 30 years. So long as I serve as your President, I will continue to shoulder the risks of the organization’s operations to the best of my ability, as did my predecessor, under our the able of leadership of our board – our ultimate authority.

In closing, for this past under review I wish to recognize Ateau Zola who has pioneered the incredible Canada-DRC relationship in the Chamber. The DRC is a key global market and the world’s richest – defined by mineral endowment - and is vital to global progress. Canada has an open invitation to partner in the DRC, exemplified in the template of Canada-Africa trade and investment, showcased at the Chamber. I am delighted deeper Canada-DRC ties are in no small measure attributed to the role of the Chamber as an independent, Not-for-Profit forum. Ateau Zola represented the Chamber in Kinshasa at the Chamber of Mines’ Women's Meeting and is a key member of the VIP Leadership Visit to the DRC next month, as she was during Africa Accelerating and during PDAC.

Here is to accelerating Canada-Africa trade and investment through world-class networking and information-sharing events for the decades to come!

All the best,
Garreth Bloor

The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business

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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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