KIGALI (CU)_The 2022 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF 2022), which is held alongside the Women’s Forum, the Youth Forum and the People’s Forum, commenced on Tuesday (21 June), with the participation of over 1,500 delegates, including political leaders, business leaders, young entrepreneurs and representatives from global and regional development institutions and trade and investment organisations.
The opening ceremony of the Forum was held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV), in Rwanda’s capital city. HE Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, Right Hon. Philip Edward Davis, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, 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) were among those who attended the event.
“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,” Hon. Patricia Scotland said in her address. “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, President Kagame underscored the need to work together and uplift each other in this “family of nations”. “There is already the understanding that we must work for a common future. We have to work towards that, and make sure we get it. It’s a work in progress, and we’re moving towards it – and I am optimistic,” he said. “We must ensure nobody is left behind – such as small and developing nations – and uplift everyone to move towards and fulfil that obligation to the ‘common-ness’ we aspire to in this family of nations.”
In his remarks, Lord Marland, spoke of the role of the Commonwealth in global business, trade and investment. “How many times people have said to me, what is the point of the commonwealth? And if they wanted a good example of what the point of the commonwealth, they should look no further than here. 1700 delegates from 50 countries around the commonwealth all with a single endeavor. We have leaders of countries, leaders of business, millionaires, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and royalty. Where else do you get that?” he said.
“This is the commonwealth family; this is what is gathered for the next few days to celebrate and to create a future and a big future for the commonwealth… This is how it is done; interaction, network, discussing and trading together,” the Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council added. “For three days we will talk enterprise investments, because through these we have prosperity, growth and lifting people out of poverty, and these are going to be absolutely critical in this post[-pandemic] era.”
During this year’s Forum, focused on ‘A Global Reset’, delegates will deliberate on several key global issues, as well as the role of the Commonwealth in leading the global recovery from the pandemic. Accordingly, participants attended session plenaries, breakouts and think tanks to discuss ideas and explore challenges to develop pathways towards practical outcomes. The day also featured the CBF 2022 Exhibition, which provided companies and organisations from across the Commonwealth to showcase their products and services.