Extracts from a speech made by Dr Mohan Kaul at the Commonwealth Business Forum Opening Ceremony
Achieving inclusive growth will be a key theme throughout this Forum whether it be in the context of rural development, education and training for disadvantaged communities and the long term unemployed or the development of small island states.
Achieving wealth creation and economic growth with equity is a challenge for every country. While globalisation has resulted in creation of wealth and unprecedented growth, it has created new problems of equity. This raises important issues regarding responsible capitalism and how private sector-led development can take place in an equitable, sustainable way so as to ensure that no-one nowhere is left behind.
Your Excellency, this is an issue close to your heart and we are looking forward to discovering more about how you and your Government are addressing the issue of sustainable growth in Sri Lanka.
This is the first time that the Commonwealth Business Forum has been held in Asia. Over the last two decades this is the continent, above anywhere else, which has proved that empowering the private sector is the key to creating development and prosperity. The forum will focus on learning from experiences in the Asian region including identifying new opportunities and partnerships in the Indian Ocean region, particularly in South Asian and South East Asian countries. Over the last two decades these have been the fastest growing regions in the world.
This Forum will also address the issues related to further strengthening of the growing Africa-Asia partnerships. Given the large number of business delegates from Africa and from Asia, it is important that this Forum assists in exploring new linkages and partnerships. A number of African business leaders are looking for opportunities in Asia and are also seeking expertise from Asia to develop new partnerships in their countries. Similarly, Asian businesses are now increasingly involved in business partnerships in Africa: with infrastructure development as a key priority.
Lastly, the Forum will also deliberate on issues related to building entrepreneurship and strengthening small and medium enterprises and explore ways of enhancing the value chain between large and small companies.
Whilst FDI has an important role to play in development and technology transfer, it is the strength of domestic investment and businesses which remains the true engine of development. We have made a special effort to ensure that a large number of small and medium enterprises have had the opportunity to attend this event in the hope that this Forum will benefit them by developing new networks and partnerships
The combined thrust of economic growth and democratic values in Commonwealth countries complements the argument made by Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz at the Commonwealth Business Forum held in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2009, regarding the three pillars of successful development strategy; markets, governments, and individuals.
He emphasised that development is about transforming the lives of people, not just about transforming economies. Policies need to be looked at based on how they promote growth and how they affect individuals directly. For this to happen, Stiglitz identified communities working together as the fourth pillar of successful development.
The Commonwealth offers such a community for the realisation of the ‘New World’ that Joseph Stiglitz says is necessary to make globalisation work for the many rather than the few.
Your Excellency, I hope that the deliberations in the Commonwealth Business Forum and CHOGM will provide some of the answers to these critical global issues.
Finally, Your Excellency, we hope that this Business Forum will provide a real and lasting impact on the economy of Sri Lanka and help you to achieve your vision of an even more prosperous and equitable nation, and a stronger Commonwealth.
+44 (0)20 3393 1214
To respond to your request, any information submitted (including any personal information) may be shared with other CIC partner firms and transferred and/or stored across borders. A member of our team will be reviewing your request immediately and will respond within five business days.