At the introductory reception at Mansion House attended by over 150 high-level dignitaries, businesses and high commissioners from across the Commonwealth countries,
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon hails the Commonwealth as an incredible network of 52 countries, with a combined population of 2.5 billion, 60% of whom are under 30 years old; trade between the Commonwealth is 19% cheaper than with other countries.
Thursday 14th December 2017, London: The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), an organisation facilitating trade and investment throughout the 52 states of the Commonwealth and supporting private sector companies and governments to promote economic activity, unveiled the launch of the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) at an introductory reception at Mansion House on 13thDecember 2017.
The reception was held in partnership with the City of London and the International Business and Diplomatic Exchange, and was attended by over 150 Commonwealth senior business leaders, Government representatives, High Commissioners and policy experts.
Sir Alan Yarrow, the Chairman of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the former Lord Mayor of London, initiated the agenda of the august gathering, calling upon the dignitaries and representatives from the Commonwealth Nations to work in unison for achieving mutual prosperity.
Sir Alan also highlighted the potential of the CBF, scheduled to be organised alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 in London. He said: “The Commonwealth is by far the most successful union on the international stage – beyond any other organisation”.
In his welcome remarks at the launch, CWEIC Chairman, Lord Marland of Odstock addressed the importance of the Commonwealth trade and investment agenda and highlighted the huge opportunity it presents to the private sector and Government alike, in the wake of a changing global trading landscape. Proclaiming a new beginning to the Commonwealth, he announced the launch of the CBF as a step towards prosperity and development for the 52-nation block, emphasising trade as the only means to lift nations out of poverty. To a thunderous applause, Lord Marland concluded: “It is organisations like ours and the Commonwealth in general that should and hopefully will help to enable businesses to take the challenges of the new world into their own hands, providing support for development and progress.
We are incredibly grateful towards our members who have invested in us the responsibility to help deliver prosperity not just to shareholders, but the people of this country and the countries that are represented in the Commonwealth, because it is an undeniable truth that trade is an indispensable factor for any countries growth.
It is incumbent on us to make that happen and that’s why in April we will be setting out a variety of activities crossing many different zones of business that is not just going to be filled with speeches from people like me, but are going to be inclusive round tables with people exchanging their views and hopefully linking and bringing the Commonwealth closer. So now is the time for taking hold of opportunities, being brave, taking risks and by all means working with us.”
Minister for the Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “The Business Forum is an integral part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, bringing together business leaders and governments for a chance to discuss the opportunities open to the modern Commonwealth.
“We are looking forward to welcoming hundreds of people from across the Commonwealth gathered in the global financial hub of the City of London.
“In our changing global landscape, the Business Forum can showcase the very best of Commonwealth businesses and the outstanding contribution they can make in our changing world.”
Commenting on the CBF launch, the Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, said: “The City of London is the ideal place to launch the CBF as we are the world’s most dynamic financial centre. The Forum will provide an exceptional opportunity for business leaders from across the Commonwealth to come together to expand the trade and investment ties that bind the states of the Commonwealth together. As a group of countries with historic links and shared values, the Commonwealth will play a significant role in developing increased trade across the world, and I’m looking forward to the CBF in April.”
The CBF will be organised alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), set to take place in April 2018 in London, for the first time in 20 years. Discussions will focus on key themes such as:
-Accessing modern financial services
-Easing the pathway for business and growth
-Harnessing Commonwealth technology and innovation
-Creating a new attitude to sustainable business
-Mobilizing an export economy, and
-Attracting inward investment
With the Commonwealth’s cumulative population standing at 2.4 billion, the combined GDP of the nations is set to reach US$14 trillion by 2020. Intra-Commonwealth trade, which was estimated to be worth $525 billion in 2015, is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2020. CWEIC’s ambition is to encourage and grow intra-Commonwealth trade and investment, and assist member organisations in developing high quality trade and investment opportunities.
The CBF is an invitation only event and will convene 800 senior business leaders with approximately 30 Heads of Government at three iconic Central London venues.