OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to Africa tonight where he will become the first Canadian prime minister to participate in a session of the African Union.
Trudeau’s eight-day trip is designed largely to woo support from African nations ahead of Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in June.
The Trudeau government is also looking to forge better trade relationships with the continent which is home to more than one billion people and countries with some of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Trudeau intends to visit two of those on this trip, starting in Ethiopia where he will attend a session of the African Union over the weekend and Senegal later next week for an official visit.
But African scholars and Canadian foreign affairs experts say this trip needs to be about a lot more than one vote or it will fail on all counts.
Thomas Tieku, a professor of politics with a focus on Africa at Western University, says Canada’s needs to completely overhaul its efforts in Africa, from how it delivers aid to its diplomatic presence and its economic ties.