The Commonwealth Business Forum – the first and largest in-person gathering for governments and businesses across the Commonwealth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – brought together over 1,500 delegates from Commonwealth member states.
At the opening ceremony, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, was joined by H.E. President Paul Kagame, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hon. Philip Edward Davis, Lord Marland, Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), and other dignitaries. Delegates deliberated on key global issues and the role of the Commonwealth in leading “A Global Reset” as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commonwealth People’s Forum is being held under the theme, Delivering a Common Future: Our Health, Our Planet, Our Future. Day one of the Forum focused on Building Resilient and Equitable National Health Systems; Climate Justice and Leadership for Change in the Commonwealth; and Health and Climate: Meeting the Immediate Challenge of Financing.
Meanwhile, following days of deliberations, the Commonwealth Youth Forum came to an end today with the presentation of a six-point action plan (The Youth Declaration) on youth development, which will form the topic of discussion when young leaders meet with heads of government during an intergenerational dialogue on Saturday. The Declaration was revealed at a ceremony marking the installation of the new Commonwealth Youth Council executives who will act as a recognised voice for the 1.2 billion under-30s living in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Women’s Forum also concluded During nine sessions spread over two days, from a distinguished line-up of speakers who addressed the role of women and girls in all areas of our societies – from ending violence against women and girls to peace building and leadership to climate action and intergenerational solidarity
His Excellency President Paul Kagame was joined by the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Right Hon. Philip Edward Davis, Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Makhtor Diop, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the World Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Lord Marland, Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), among other dignitaries, at the opening ceremony at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV) in Kigali.
Over 1,500 delegates from Commonwealth member states are attending the forum, mainly government leaders, business executives, leaders of global and regional development institutions, young entrepreneurs and representatives of trade and investment organisations.
Speaking during the opening session, Hon. Patricia Scotland noted: “When I took office as Secretary-General in 2016, I outlined my vision to put the ‘wealth’ back into the Commonwealth; and to put the ‘common’ back into wealth so that we all share in our future prosperity.
At the heart of our mission is trade – the lifeblood of economic activity and the arteries of the economic relationships between our Commonwealth member countries. The Commonwealth Advantage. I hope CBF 2022 provides us with the opportunity to come even closer together and redouble our commitment to enhance the framework for intra-Commonwealth trade – and set the target to reach US$ 2 trillion in Commonwealth Trade by 2030 beyond doubt.”
On his part, Lord Marland said :“For three days, we will talk about enterprise and investment because through these, we have prosperity, growth and lifting people out of poverty, and these are going to be absolutely critical in the post COVID era.”
After the opening ceremony, H.E President Kagame participated in a Fireside Chat together with Makhtar Diop, Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Future Industries and Amali Chivanthi de Alwis, Chief Executive Officer of Subak.
Members of Government and the private sector from all Commonwealth countries seek to address key global challenges and opportunities, learn from each other’s experiences, find practical solutions and generate high-level policy recommendations that will set the agenda for Rwanda’s two years as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth.
Ssenombe Andrew is a Ugandan businessman who do his business in Kigali, he emphasised on the outcome from CHOGM 2022 business forum saying that he expects the free movement in all commonwealth countries and the government support to expand their businesses in and out the country.
“CHOGM 2022 business forum was the greatest opportunity to us businessmen as we exchanged ideas, the ways of doing with others. I think now I am free to move to all commonwealth countries and expand my business. It was also a great occasion of meeting with government officials and profit from the coming support.”
Eric Bertrand NKUNDIYE