Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Indian Elections

I would like to congratulate Manmohan Singh on his election as India’s Prime Minister, the workings of the world’s largest democracy are an impressive sight nearly 1 billion people have chosen their representatives.

This election marks a particular change in India’s politics; the congress party now has a working majority and can no longer be held to ransom by the smaller parties that were previously able to prevent governments from taking action. With the ruling party now longer beholden to minority interest progress can now be made on the Doha round as both the US and UK want and expect, leading to further economic reforms in the labour, legal and financial spheres.

Equally India has a major role to play in the response to the financial crisis; European and especially UK Business are looking to India as partners for ventures there and abroad with a high expectation of success. Finally with India looking to be one of the big winners in the proposed IMF reforms in terms of voting rights, India role in the global economy and the Institutions that govern it can only grow.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Dealing with Cuba the Commonwealth Way

I am extremely pleased to see the approach the new US President has taken towards Cuba during his first 100 days in office. Moves to lift some of the travel and trade restrictions could open a dialogue between the 2 countries that has been closed since President Kennedy isolated the Island in the 60s.

Engaging the countries that were previously given pariah status is a good step forward, talk that leads to understanding is always preferable to conflict. President Obama is using strategies similar to those we use in the Commonwealth in his dealings with Cuba, by lessening the restriction on Cuba a white house press spokesman reported that the president hopes “that creating independence, creating space for the Cuban people to operate freely from the regime is the kind of space they need to start the process toward a more democratic Cuba”

By engaging in direct dialogue change can be encouraged in good governance, human rights and economic development, this is the approach the Commonwealth has taken and now we are a community of 53 democracies.

Friday, 1 May 2009

South Africa's Elections

I would like to congratulate Jacob Zuma on his recent election as South Africa’s President, and wish him luck with all the challenges that await him, both economic and political. However, while South Africa celebrates his election, it is important not to forget the efforts of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki.

While President Mbeki’s stance on Aids and Zimbabwe may have been regrettable, his impact on the South African economy cannot be overstated. South Africa’s sustained level of economic growth is the success the Mbeki’s presidency should be remembered for.

Consequently, I was delighted to read over the weekend that Trevor Manual, the South African Minister of Finance closely related to the Countries economic success, looks set to play major role in the Zuma Government. This should allay fears that the new government is not focused closely enough on the Economic side of rule.