Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Last Blog

This will be my last blog as Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council, and i am writing it with mixed feelings.

CBC was very much an initiative of the British Government at the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1997, there was a feeling that the Commonwealth needed to be refocused to ensure that is was relevant for the future. Trade and Investment were chosen as a focus, i was honoured to be asked to lead on this work.

It has been a challenge, there was little data on Commonwealth Trade available in 1997 and when we looked into it there were many commonwealth Countries that received no foreign investment at all.

With humility and great satisfaction me and my staff are extremely proud to have had the opportunity to help make the Commonwealth a grouping of dynamic, market driven, socially responsible countries. I have had the great pleasure of working with Visionary Heads of Governments and many of the world’s most successful business leaders many of whom, i am proud to say, now see CBC as a key asset to help in developing their business and companies.

I would like to thank, all CBC’s members that have worked with us over the years and CBC’s Board Members that have contributed so much. I would like to thank the Commonwealth Heads of Government, Ministers, High Commissioners and Officials, The Commonwealth Secretary General and the Commonwealth organisations that we have worked with on many different projects. Lastly my staff, past and current and everyone that has attended CBC events or taken part in our programmes. I would also like to wish my successor, Sir Alan Collins, all the best and know you will support him and CBC as you have always done for me.

I will be in touch in a different capacity

Friday, 9 March 2012

East African Talks

Over the last couple of weeks i have had the pleasure of meeting with 2 of East Africa’s leaders. Both President Museveni of Uganda and President Nkurunziza of Burundi were in London for the British hosted Somali talks.

CBC hosted President Museveni for lunch where he Launched Uganda’s new tourism initiative and discussed the business and investment climate in Uganda. The President spoke with a great deal of authority on many issues affecting Uganda and made a strong impression on the business leaders gathered for the Lunch. His views and plans to ensure Uganda’s newly discovered natural resources are a boon for the whole of Ugandan society was particularly interesting.

The following day I held talks with President Nkurunziza of Burundi. I don’t know Burundi as well as the other EAC countries as it is not yet a Commonwealth Member. However I was pleased to hear from the President that his country has begun the office petitioning process to join the Commonwealth. In many ways echoing President Kagame before Rwanda joined, President Nkurunziza spoke of the importance of connecting his country’s businesses more fully with the English speaking world, and explained how he has already made English the main language in schools. I offered the President CBC’s services in helping link up Burundi with Commonwealth Investors and businesses.

Burundi joining the Commonwealth will make the EAC a Commonwealth Exclusive Club, this I feel will help bind the Union together and make in a strong investment and business destination.

CBC hopes to return to East Africa in early 2013 to hold its flagship Africa Event the Africa Investment Forum in Kampala Uganda; both Presidents were supportive of the plan.