Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Commonwealth Conversation and the Commonwealth Factor

I was very pleased to note that the Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon David Miliband has initiated the dialogue on the future role of the Commonwealth, in this 60th year of operation.

Those of us who work in the Commonwealth recognise its importance, but are disappointed by the lack of recognition the association receives. The Commonwealth is underutilized and I hope this ‘commonwealth conversation’ can help to remedy this.

I was delighted to see that the CBC was identified as one of the key organisations within the commonwealth family alongside the Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation, in the Foreign Secretary’s paper ‘Two Billion Voices’.

I believe that member countries benefit most from the commonwealth when they leverage the ‘commonwealth factor’, such as similar administrative, legal, financial and business practices to help enhance trade and investment in their countries. These shared features make trade easy and cheap, and CBC is delighted to have made some small contribution to the increase in Commonwealth Trade from 2 trillion to 3 trillion dollars since its inception in 1997.

The Commonwealth can become an even stronger force for good, promoting, multi party democracy, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and socially responsible market orientated economic policies. Another key factor that binds the commonwealth is the use of the English language, which is a key asset for the economic development of member countries.

Countries that subscribe to these beliefs should be welcomed into the Commonwealth Club and join in its success.

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