Latest content: Trade and economy

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Advancements in blockchain and distributed ledger technology have had a revolutionary impact across many sectors, particularly finance. With these technologies likely to play ever more prominent roles in our economies, this Model Law for Virtual Assets provides Commonwealth member countries with a regulatory framework that will give much-needed legislative clarity to financial markets and vital protection to customers.
Read publication - The Commonwealth Model Law on Virtual Assets
Last week, the Commonwealth Secretariat, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Permanent Mission of Nepal in Geneva co-organised a session at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 9th Global Review of the ‘Aid for Trade’ initiative.
Read news - Commonwealth, UNCTAD and Partners Advocates for Strategic Trade Reforms to Empower Least Developed Countries
The CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC), the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Government of Saint Lucia recently hosted a three-day capacity building workshop for government officials in competition law and policy. The workshop was held from the 17th-19th June 2024 at Bel Jou Hotel, Castries, Saint Lucia.
Read news - Strengthening Fair Markets: Saint Lucia Hosts Key Competition Law Workshop with CARICOM and Commonwealth
The Global Business Network (GBN) Forum, an initiative of the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UNOHRLLS), successfully convened on the margins of the SIDS4 Conference in St. John's, Antigua from May 25 to 26. This biennial event connected the private sector with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to foster impactful partnerships and sustainable development.
Read news - Global Business Network Forum at SIDS4 Promotes Innovative Partnerships for Small Island Developing States
Data could be the conduit for boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment as enshrined in the ‘Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’. The sharing of data according to the Open Data Institute (ODI), can create social and economic value for people, organisations, and the wider economy. Ensuring data sovereignty including maintaining a secure, trusted data environment, governments have an important role to play in laying the foundations for a flourishing data-driven economy by pursuing policies that improve the flow of data and ensuring that companies who want to innovate have appropriate access to high-quality and well-maintained data.
Read publication - National Agriculture Data Infrastructure: Malawi
Ghana is well positioned to tap into the potential of digitalisation across its agriculture sector. A multi-stakeholder dialogue with representatives from the sector, including digital agricultural services providers, confirmed that numerous organisations were already engaged in agricultural data management. Participants identified and shared experiences of several well-established systems and platforms for data management already operational in the country. However, they also described fragmented databases, an unwillingness to share data, operational inefficiencies, data collection fatigue, unsuited policies based on unreliable data and a data power imbalance.
Read publication - National Agricultural Data Infrastructure: Ghana
26 May 2024 to 26 May 2024
(Antigua and Barbuda (GMT-4))
The fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States dubbed ‘SIDS4’ will be held on 27 – 30 May 2024 in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. The Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UNOHRLLS) is holding a side event at the upcoming SIDS4 conference in Antigua and Barbuda.
This toolkit offers practical guidance on how to implement gender-responsive practices in marine conservation, fisheries, maritime transportation and tourism, in order to empower women and gender minorities and unlock the full potential of sustainable blue economies. Based on research and stakeholder consultations, and designed to provide clear guidance on meaningfully integrating gender perspectives into ocean policies and practices through practical guidance and best practices, the toolkit should serve as a valuable resource for it is an invaluable resource for policymakers, organisations and individuals dedicated to advancing gender equity in ocean sectors.
Read publication - Turning the Tides of Inclusion: A Toolkit for Gender Equality in Ocean Sectors
This report presents policy recommendations for how Kenya can further enhance investment in the country by its growing and diverse diaspora. Presenting a thorough review of the Kenyan and global evidence, and informed by extensive stakeholder consultations, it proposes policy recommendations for addressing the challenges to greater investment by – and raising awareness and engagement among – the Kenyan diaspora that could deliver substantial contributions to national development. 
Read publication - Charting a Course for Diaspora Investment in Kenya
As an island nation, Antigua and Barbuda is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and, despite recent classification as a middle-income country, pockets of poverty heighten this risk for some parts of society. Recognising this challenge, the Sustainable Island Resource Framework (SIRF) Fund was established in 2019 as a financial vehicle to deliver climate and environment-related projects and programmes both domestically and across the Eastern Caribbean.
Read publication - The SIRF Fund Gender-Responsive Blended Financing Window: Synthesis Report
In the first weeks of February trade advisers, Kim Kampel and Tanvi Sinha from the Commonwealth Small States Office (CSSO), based in Geneva, concluded two hybrid workshops to support Commonwealth Small States with their technical preparations for the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), which takes place in Abu Dhabi from 26 to 29 February 2024.
Read news - Empowering Commonwealth Small States: CSSO Trade Advisers lead preparatory workshops for WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, will attend the second annual Africa Prosperity Dialogue (APD 2024) in Ghana from 25-27 January 2024. She will join heads of Government from Africa and the Caribbean, other political leaders, senior policymakers, technocrats, civil society representatives, academics and business executives for discussions aimed at accelerating and improving trade between African nations.
Read news - Commonwealth Secretary-General to urge greater collaboration at Africa Prosperity Dialogue in Ghana 
The world’s least developed countries (LDCs) face unique and complex structural constraints that hinder their economic development and transformation. High levels of dependence on primary commodities, underdeveloped productive capacity and low productivity levels, chronic shortages of human capital, weak digital and technological capabilities, underdeveloped private sectors and major infrastructure deficits all combine to undermine their socio-economic prospects, hampering their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leaving them highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks.

As a result, most LDCs continue to be marginalised in the global economy and in international trade, with the latter reflected in very low shares of global trade in goods and services. They also face daunting socio-economic challenges, particularly in relation to education and health. Poverty levels have been slow to decline and remain alarmingly high in many LDCs.
Read publication - Harnessing Intellectual Property Rights for Innovation, Development and Economic Transformation in Least Developed Countries