Friday, 29 October 2010

The future of the Commonwealth

Over the last couple of weeks I have had discussions with both the Chair in Office of the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on the future direction the Commonwealth should take.

The EPG was set up by the Heads of Government in Trinidad and Tobago at CHOGM last November to discuss the future of the Commonwealth and sharpen the impact, strengthen the networks, and raise the profile of the Commonwealth. I believe that both the roles of the Chair in Office and the Secretary General should be expanded to enhance coordination between the Commonwealth’s Key Agencies.

Also I feel the Commonwealth should take greater advantage of the excellent work it’s done on good governance and human rights since its founding, and now think about how to convert those successes into economic prosperity. By giving equal attention to the Harare Principles on good governance and the Edinburgh Economic Declaration, the Commonwealth can do more to highlight the link between good governance and increased investment. We feel that this link can be further strengthened by the creation of a commonwealth development fund that would invest in countries that show the best progress in good governance.

This new approach could make the Commonwealth truly relevant for tomorrow, as it will allow the association to directly focus on the areas of greatest importance to all heads of Government (developed or developing); jobs and growth, while still maintain the Commonwealth’s historic focus on good governance and human rights.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Nigeria and Elections

Last week I was in Nigeria for our yearly Nigerian Investment Forum, the event was a great success bringing investors from across the commonwealth to meet project holders in Nigeria. For the first time the event also included a business awards gala dinner to celebrate excellence in Nigeria’s private sector, the awards were hosted at State House.

While we were in Nigeria, HE Goodluck Jonathon announced his intention to run in next years presidential election. He has promised electoral reform to ensure a free and fair vote. The Nigerian Business community along with the county’s citizens all want to see elections that will allow the country move forward with its development goals. Any uncertainty over issues of governance can have a direct and measurable effect on a country’s ability to attract foreign investment, so I add my urging that the county comes together at this election and delivers a result that the rest of the world can respect.