Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Commonwealth Business Forum

It was a new and interesting experience holding an event the size of the Commonwealth Business Forum on a cruise ship. The Forum was instrumental in building new partnerships that represent the new global alliances coming out of the changes to the global economy caused by the financial crisis of the past year.

The Forum has become a key mechanism for developing south-south relationships and increasing investment to small states and developing countries. Examples of the real business done at the Forum include:

1) Agreements on Oil and Gas partnerships between Trinidad & Tobago and West African States

2) Agreement between British Companies to invest in Grenada on Agriculture

3) Agreement between Canadian Companies and the Government of Grenada to work together on Healthcare

4) Agreement between Malaysian Companies to work with the Caribbean on Tourism and Telecommunications

5) Agreement between Indian Companies and Trinidad and Tobago to work together on ICT projects

6) Agreement Between an American company and Trinidad and Tobago to work together on Clean Technology

7) Agreement Between a Dutch company and African States to work together on Clean Technology solutions

8) And many more…..

I am delighted to see such solid outcomes from the Business Forum and am certain there will be a lasting impact on the economies in the region over the coming years.

Aside from the business done, the Forum has become a key private sector event, where business can forge a strong dialogue with Governments on trade and investment issues. 10 Heads of Government, sharing a stage with over 100 business leaders, spoke passionately and informatively on topics such as climate change, the impacts of the financial crisis and ways of improving the business climate. The Forums findings were submitted to CHOGM for the Heads consideration and can be read here.

The 2009 Business Forum was the largest event the CBC has ever held it brought together over 1100 investors and interested parties for debated and discussion in 10 Plenary and 40 Breakout sessions. I look forward to carrying this success forward to all CBC will undertake in the New Year.

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