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Free trade ‘the engine for global prosperity’

18 April 2018

The Commonwealth Business Forum at Guildhall in London concluded this afternoon after three days of lively speeches, panel discussions, presentations and round table consultations.

But not before Commonwealth leaders, including South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame had arrived to attend the African Leaders Roundtable to look at the continued economic growth of Africa. Similarly, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, joined the Island Leaders’ Roundtable, to discuss growth and how to strengthen Commonwealth partnerships.

HRH Prince Charles also arrived at Guildhall this afternoon to interact with delegates.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd had earlier opened proceedings at Mansion House with a session focusing on cybercrime, and the threat it presents to business and prosperity. Commonwealth leaders are due to discuss cybercrime at their Windsor Castle retreat with a declaration expected later in the week.

Delivering her closing remarks at Guildhall, Catherine McGuiness, Chairman, Policy and Resource, City of London Corporation, said: “The diversity of our different countries, our geography and stages of development gives us a shared resilience and the opportunity for trade between very different economies.

“We in the Commonwealth need to share with each other best practice in delivering [the Sustainable Development Goals and on other issues, understanding what works and what doesn’t.

“In an era when some big economies are turning back to protectionism, the Commonwealth can be an organisation to champion free trade and show how this can be the engine for global prosperity.”