Our poorest, smallest, and most vulnerable member countries are hardest hit by economic crises. They face challenges to finance basic public services, are burdened with high debt and have limited access to global trade. Traditional sources of finance for these countries – such as taxation and development assistance – while critically important, are insufficient to meet these challenges. Innovative forms of financing, often enabled by technological advancements, are increasingly required to fill the funding gap.
The global economic and financial system fails to respond to the needs of small and developing countries because their representatives often do not participate on an equal footing in decision-making forums which shape the system. The G20, one of the world’s most powerful economic policy-making forums, takes decisions which have far-reaching global impact; yet it lacks the perspective of smaller and developing countries. Commonwealth advocacy is required to ensure that their pressing concerns receive the hearing, and attention, they deserve.
The Commonwealth has a longstanding commitment to improve financing for development, an issue which is addressed at every Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. Our economic advocacy is focused on helping countries build an inclusive global financial architecture that allows both developing and developed countries to grow and thrive.
We help ensure that the voices of our developing countries are heard in G20 talks through a joint development dialogue with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. For example, our member countries in the past have called for practical support to address debt, for remittance flows to be protected, and for more inclusive and effective international tax co-operation.
In addition, we help governments and international partners to identify, evaluate and select innovative financing solutions to boost national development. For example, we have led the way in promoting tools such as debt swaps and crowdfunding, to support governments in dealing with limited revenue sources, the cost of climate change and high debt burdens.
The Commonwealth has provided a platform for the voice of the poorest, smallest and most vulnerable states to be considered in international economic decision-making. Our inclusive approach helps to achieve results. Many priority policies advocated by the Commonwealth are now part of G20 discussions, including inclusive finance, more favourable trade conditions, scaling up aid-for-trade, and resilience-building in small states.
Our research on debt swaps has caught the attention of multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and United Nations, and our advocacy for crowdfunding as a potential source of financing has gained worldwide recognition.