Thank you, Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for appearing before the committee today.
I have a series of questions that go to the structure and how we intend to actually deliver in the field.
Let me start by saying that it's tremendously encouraging to see this initiative and to see that it's being done within the framework of EDC. EDC is a rare example of doing important and good work. Also, EDC contributes back to the Treasury, to the tune of $800 million last year, which certainly allows us the opportunity to turn around and say that there are other areas where we could do good work such as this. It also uses the framework of EDC, which, as you said, allows us to launch without having to duplicate, add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, or reinvent what has already been put in place.
Having said that, I know that many countries have similar programs, and there are very different models. First of all, do we have a list of countries? For instance, the U.S. does its work in 160 countries. Other countries have target countries, and they may do it only in a score of countries. Do we have a prioritized list? If so, do we have a prioritized list that breaks it down into countries that are war zones, for instance, such as Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we intend to do work in those sorts of countries? Are there countries that are conflict zones that we intend to do work in, such as Somalia, for instance? Are there countries that are post-conflict, such as Angola? How do we prioritize amongst those countries?
Also, there are several models of how these DFIs function. Some tie it back to in-country companies and have a requirement that.... For instance, the Brits don't require that British companies be involved. The Belgians, Finns, and Danes actually require that Belgian, Finnish, and Danish companies be involved. It's an interesting question, because it goes back to some of the comments that were made previously about offshore structure and extraterritoriality. If the model is that 100% can go in those countries, there is extrajudiciality. We don't have access to go to the courts to chase after this money, but if Canadian entities are involved, there is often a different government structure, first of all, and we have that ability.
That is a series of questions along those lines of how we intend to structure this, and then I have a final question. the briefing notes talked about small and medium-sized businesses. What portion will go to microfinancing? The model in that particular case would be quite different, because most likely that would be 100% local. Some of the greatest successes have been with microfinancing in agriculture. When you do a gender-based analysis, you see that it is so empowering for women in some of the poorest of countries, and there is little chance that this money will end up in some offshore structure.
It's a series of questions. Thank you.