Memorandum submitted by the Commonwealth
We refer to the above White Paper on International
Development presented to Parliament in December 2000.
Our comments are as follows:
The Commonwealth Business Council was established
by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in October 1997 to help
in the removal of barriers to trade, promote investment, foster
a good environment for business and investment and link business
into government policy through public-private dialogues including
with Commonwealth Heads of Government and Commonwealth Finance
As the business end of the Commonwealth, we
entirely agree with the analysis of globalisation as set out in
the White Paper and endorse the agenda for bringing sustainable
benefits to developing countries. Many of the issues raised are
already part of our programme of work encouraging the private
sector to invest in developing Commonwealth countries as the White
There are two issues in particular we would
like to raise under the Chapters Harnessing Private Finance and
Capturing the Gains from Trade.
The launch of an Africa Private Infrastructure
Financing Facility later this year is in our minds an essential
ingredient to developing long-term public and private funding
for private infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa. We
would like to be involved in the design of the structure of the
APIFF and would aim to work with DFID in launching the Facility
in work-shops and symposiums throughout Africa to develop the
capacity of the developing African countries in taking on PFI
projects and bringing in the private sector investors and lenders.
The second area concerns the gains from trade.
We have already taken the initiative to organise conferences to
discuss WTO issues as they affect the developing Commonwealth
countries and we would aim to work with DFID in structuring further
events, particularly focused on Africa where the greatest injustices
under the present world trade system are felt. We agree that there
is a need to develop the capacity of developing countries to participate
in international negotiations and to take advantage of new trading
opportunities that could be created via greater private sector
investment in infrastructure development.
CBC has strong links to Commonwealth Governments
and to major private sector investors throughout the Commonwealth.
We would aim to use our network to leverage up on DFID's agenda.
Commonwealth Business Council