Toronto, Canada – MEDA welcomed the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, to the MEDA 2023 Convention in celebration of its 70-year history of investing in entrepreneurs on November 4. Minister Hussen affirmed MEDA’s importance in Canada’s development sector, noting Canada’s need to leverage MEDA’s expertise to build partnerships and create sustainable paths that lift, and keep, people out of poverty.
“I really want to congratulate you for your innovation, your leadership, your foresight, your ability to see more than what you can do as an organization, but always bringing other players to the mix to have the biggest possible impact on the ground.”— Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development
The Minister joined nearly 300 participants who gathered in Toronto, Canada for a four-day event celebrating MEDA’s history, discussing its present approaches to finding business solutions that address poverty, and envisioning its future work at its gala dinner. He also shared a letter with congratulatory wishes from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with his own reflections on MEDA’s role in the sector.
Touching on his personal experience with the Mennonite community through the Mennonite Central Committee’s educational support to friends and family in Somalia, Hussen emphasized the multiplier effect that development efforts can have over decades. Economic development is, in addition to disaster relief and humanitarian support, a third and necessary pillar to keep people out of poverty. To act on this pillar, he stressed that there is a need to be deliberate in international development dollars and to further leverage funding from the private sector, foundations, and other partners – something, Hussen notes, that MEDA was doing far ahead of its time.
“I will do what I can to make sure that we talk to you, that we benefit from your 70 years of experience, expertise, compassion, and belief in the ability of people to help themselves and to be sustainably more prosperous than they were before your contact,” said Hussen.
Hussen closed by sharing his belief that the next wave of prosperity in Africa will come from agriculture – an area in which MEDA can offer important guidance – not only for global food security, but to advance youth employment, gender equality, and the fight against climate change.
MEDA’s focus on partnerships is critical to its past successes and in achieving its future goal of creating 500,000 decent work opportunities by 2030 in Africa and beyond. The Canadian government continues to act as one of these key strategic partners, with Global Affairs Canada funding a number of MEDA’s projects across the globe including in Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.