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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Secretary General of Commonwealth meets Business leaders in India

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I had the good fortune of meeting The Secretary General of Commonwealth of Nations Rt Hon Patricia Scotland visiting India early August and to host a business leaders meeting in New Delhi. The program held on 9th August was well represented with Indian corporates meeting with participants across infrastructure, hi tech services, financial services, manufacturing among others, interacted with SG and discussed post Covid trade economics and new opportunities. Her visit also coincided with India’s 75th year of Independence.

In India beyond Commonwealth Games, hardly much else is being written or spoken about. In-fact many would say it represents a colonial past. I disagree. Commonwealth today represents vibrant and thriving democracies, with over 3bn people and a combined GDP of USD 14 trillion (nearly 17% of the world economy). In the Post Covid world I think there is a new significance for commonwealth. The business leaders meet with Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, which began a new chapter in its 90 long years of existence of commonwealth, this visit I believe has ignited new interest among Indian businesses which are ever more ready today, to innovate for the emerging markets.

The Secretary General in her address explained at length the commonwealth initiatives across member nations in promoting self-reliance and sustainable trade. In her interactions she also mentioned the focus on sustainability. The support her team can offer in new green energy, enabling technologies for carbon neutral business and sustainable agriculture amongst others.

The market for responsible production and consumption among commonwealth nations is $3tn. It is by far the best opportunity for Indian businesses to scale in the Southern Hemisphere. In response to a question about infrastructure by Dalmia Group (www.dalmiabharat.com) Executive Director Mr. Murdit Parasher the Secretary General said the commonwealth is the largest market for infrastructure. Many clear steps are being taken to enable sustainable trade across members. On start-ups Mr. Pankaj Sharma of google mentioned about the innovative startup ecosystem in India which is beginning to find solutions for agriculture and AI based services for which the Secretary General expressed keen interest to explore this idea further through various dialogue among sector specific member states.

Responding to the issue of energy, Professor Ashwini Mahajan lead economist from New Delhi said that we need to develope the monetary incentives for energy change-over to encourage commonwealth nations to migrate to clean energy faster.

Traditional medicines are an important aspect for growth among commonwealth nations. India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Canada have strong ayurveda practice. With WHO recognising and enabling traditional medicines, ayurveda will be an important growth sector for commonwealth in the future. This group of 4 member nations would start a dialogue with SG on same soon. Agro tech is witnessing meteoric growth in India. It is a great opportunity for food safety program across the member nations. New players like faarms (www.faarms.com) Way2cool (www.Way2cool.com) which provide technologies to improve farm incomes is going to transform farming trade in an immensely efficient way.

It was a major victory for Indian businesses to get a knowledge sharing opportunity with the Secretary General and I urge her to sustain this discussions in various groups to seize the start and make the members nudge towards a better common future with common values.

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