Friday, 19 March 2010

Prime Minister Manning and CBF

It was a pleasure to catch up with Prime Minister Manning of Trinidad and Tobago last week while he was in London for Commonwealth Day. We discussed CHOGM and CBF and its impact on Trinidad and Tobago, the Prime Minster made it clear that he believes that the Business Forum is a vital part of the whole CHOGM experience. For any country that hosts CHOGM, he said, the key is maximizing the private sectors involvement.

Prime Minster Manning spoke of how by leverraging the Business Forum he was able to broaden the horizons of Trinidad and Tobago’s SME sector. By interacting with the global business leaders who attended the forum Trinidad’s small businessmen were able to develop new global linkages and partnerships. The Forum was also important in bringing new investment and investors to the Island by increasing the profile of the Country to an international audience.

The Prime Minster described how by interacting with the private sector and politicians who attended CHOGM he was able to get a better understanding of how other countries are managing to balance challenges such as climate change with the need to maintain high growth rates.

Prime Minister Manning was particularly proud of how successful the Forum was in promoting new linkages between the Commonwealth and the Americas, and suggested that Trinidad should be the host of a Global Business Forum early next year to keep up this momentum. I was delighted to hear this from the Prime Minister; we place a high value on his leadership and recognise the key role he played in making the Business Forum such a success.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Encouraging signs in Malaysia

Last week I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to continue talks with Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, started at CBF in Trinidad. I had a very good meeting especially coming at a time when the economy is showing encouraging signs of growth estimated to be 5% for the coming year. The main theme of the discussion was on the Prime Ministers views on the return to global growth particularly through emerging markets like Malaysia. The Prime Minister told me that Malaysian Companies are becoming more and more active in other Asian Countries, particularly China, India and Indonesia.

The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Boyd McCleary, confirmed the importance of the Malaysia to the developed world in the wake of the Financial Crisis, more and more British companies have a growing presence in Malaysia.

I met with a number of prominent Malaysian business leaders during the trip; they all expressed similar optimism and described growth plans for the coming year, from plantation projects in Indonesia, rural Malaysia and Nigeria to exporting the Malaysian experience in world class Infrastructure development to other markets, such as India. Malaysian companies are expecting real growth this year.