Monday, 27 December 2010

2010 and the Commonwealh

2010 has been a difficult year for the world economy with growth stifled in the developed world and deficits to be tackled. The Emerging world on the other hand has demonstrated the intrinsic strength and is proving that the engine of the Global economy has categorically shifted to the East.

Over the last year, millions have joined the middle class in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and are entering the global economy as consumers, this will continue. In Africa alone, 200m people will enter the market for consumer goods over the next five years. 2010 has been a year of surprisingly good global growth of around 4%, with emerging markers displaying rates of between 6-7% and the developed world 2-3%. This will be the pattern for years to come as the emerging nations drive the global economy forward.

Much has been written about Asia's role in the world (especially given China's emergence as the second largest economy in the world earlier this year) but the story that gets less recognition is Africa's growth story, 5% this year and predicted to be around 5.5% next year. In 2010 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of The World Bank said that Africa could be the next BRIC, and become a major recipient of investment rather than aid. At the same time McKinsey told companies, that 'global businesses cannot afford to ignore the potential' of Africa.

Africa's growth is creating massive new business opportunities, it is predicted that Africa's 4 leading industries, retail services, agriculture, resources, and infrastructure could generate as much as $2.6 trillion in revenue annually by 2020. And Africa is gaining greater access to foreign investment, total FDI into Africa rose from $9 billion in 2000 to $62 billion in 2008, and today the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region.

In 2011 CBC will continue its engagement with all the Commonwealth nations, we will hold investment and business promotion events in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the UK. And in October 2011 we will host the 8th Commonwealth Business Forum in Australia. CBF 2011 will be a major event for Large and small companies with about 1000 business leaders attending.It will also help us to reach pacific small states that we have had difficulty engaging with before. 2011 should be an exciting year!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

MSMEs and the Commonwealth

Small companies are the life blood of all Commonwealth economies. In the UK, for example, MSMEs account for 99% of all businesses. As much as 50% of the UK’s workforce is employed by companies employing less than 100 people and on average 65% of all new jobs are created by MSMEs each year.

As the UK looks to export its way out of recession greater emphasis is being placed on helping to internationalise MSMEs, as only the most innovative and competitive MSMEs will succeed in international markets. A strategy that focuses on supporting fast growing and innovative MSMEs internationalise will reap disproportionately large returns for all countries involved. India in particular is seen as an enormous potential market for MSMEs, but so far UK companies have struggled to penetrate the market.

India has continually demonstrated an ability to nurture its own MSMEs into national and international corporations, almost all the major Indian companies have developed from humble origins within living memory. India is therefore an important market for international MSMEs looking to win new business and for those countries looking to learn how they can support and develop their own MSMEs.

Doing business with another Commonwealth country can be up to 20% less expensive than doing business with non-Commonwealth countries as a result of the ‘Commonwealth Factor’. These factors are of disproportionate advantage to MSMEs, so the Commonwealth relationships can play a key role in developing international MSMEs that will help drive growth and job creation across the 54 member countries of the association.