Start of main content

Posted on February 5, 2024 | Updated at 11AM

Embracing Our Role: Why You Should Care About International Development

sdg screen

In an era defined by interconnectedness, international aid and development is more than a philanthropic endeavor – it's about embracing our role as global citizens. Canada's international assistance priorities, including the Feminist International Assistance Policy and, more broadly, our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are helping contribute to a more peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive world. To understand international development and why you should care about it – you need to first understand the kinds of challenges international development efforts aim to address. 


The development challenge explained 

In 2015, the United Nations introduced the SDGs as a collective commitment to address poverty, inequality, economic growth, and environmental issues. Today, these goals are more important than ever, given the persisting challenges and, unfortunately, their growing impact. 

Climate change is recognized as the pre-eminent existential threat, with its impact being felt with greater severity by increasingly more people globally, and with most severe impacts in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). The pandemic further worsened the situation in these regions, undoing progress towards inclusivity, particularly for women, and weakening public finance crucial for market development. Global conflicts, such as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, have destabilized the world, strained global growth, and undermined food security, especially in EMDEs.  

These global development challenges no longer exist in silos, but instead are increasingly overlapping with one another. Whether it's the climate crisis, conflicts, the aftermath of COVID-19, economic downturns, or broader societal issues – the ties between and amongst these issues are creating more complexity and a greater need for immediate and sustained action. 


So, why should you care about international development?  

Let's talk about being a global citizen – what does it mean? Global Affairs Canada defines global citizens as “individuals who are aware of global issues and understand the complexity of the world, including their place in it”. It's about recognizing that global challenges have a ripple effect right here in our own backyard. “What happens beyond our borders has a direct impact on our lives here in Canada,” noted Minister Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development. 

The connection between local issues and global challenges eventually starts to become clearer. That understanding is what propels us to be a part of the solution to issues that go beyond borders. Caring about international development isn't just about doing good – it's about taking a step towards creating a better world for us and everyone else. 


Why is this important for us at FinDev Canada and how do we support Canada’s international development efforts? 

First, let’s start with a few premises:

1.We recognize that there are significant development challenges in emerging markets and developing economies, and that Canada plays an important role in supporting positive change to address them.

2. We also recognize that the public sector – both developing market governments and international donor countries – do not have the resources to address these global development challenges on their own. The scale is simply too great.

3. And, lastly, the private sector (both domestic and international), with its capital and its innovation, is critical to addressing these challenges and must be harnessed for the benefit of emerging markets and developing economies.


This is why you have a Development Finance Institution (DFI). This is why you have FinDev Canada.  

We operate in recognition of these challenges, and with the mandate to address them. How? By complementing the range of different tools that Canada has in its toolkit to support development, with our specific focus on working with and through the private sector, globally and in the markets that we serve. We serve as a public policy instrument of the Government of Canada that can support and deliver on international development priorities 

As Canada’s DFI, we provide financing, investment, and blended finance solutions, as well as technical assistance and knowledge, to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in Latin America & the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indo-Pacific region, aligned with the SDGs and Paris Agreement commitments. We target strategic development objectives in three impact areas – climate and nature action, gender equality and market development – while directing our services towards three sectors: sustainable infrastructure, financial industry; and agribusiness, forestry and value chains. 

Learn more about FinDev Canada, our products, the markets we serve, our development impact objectives, and sectors, here.