The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, has expressed confidence that Commonwealth member countries will weather any economic and security storms on the horizon owing to what he described as the ‘Commonwealth Effect’.
“It is clear that the global economy faces considerable macro-economic challenges from the worsening global security situation, the growing threat of extremism, unprecedented migration and climate change. However, a myriad of opportunities have unleashed the resilience of the Commonwealth,” stated Dr Muscat at a banquet of High Commissioners in London today.
The Prime Minister, who is the Commonwealth’s Chair-in-Office, was speaking at an event on 16 March hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society, which was attended by the Head of the Commonwealth, The Queen. His address focussed on the successful outcomes from last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) hosted by Malta, including commitments on climate change, migration and combatting violent extremism.
The Prime Minister referred to the “Commonwealth Effect” as one of main drivers of rising intra-Commonwealth trade and investment flows, which is largely attributed to members’ shared historical ties and similar legal and administrative systems.
The leaders’ summit, he said, was an opportunity to network, generate business and identify areas to increase trade and investment and hit US$1trillion in Commonwealth trade by 2020. Leaders called for “enhanced public-private sector dialogue” to improve business and root out corruption, he added.
“We have made considerable progress towards identifying an agenda for helping countries to plan, access funding and build major infrastructure projects, which is imperative for future economic development. The private sector stands ready to assist,” he stressed.
Malta’s Prime Minister applauded the “clear agenda” of the Business Forum, organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council alongside the summit, which resulted in more than 300 one-to-one meetings and 17 national and regional investment events.
He also drew attention to the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence, an initiative launched during CHOGM and hosted by Malta, which stands to assist the 31 small states in the Commonwealth by strengthening governance and economic resilience.
Prime Minister Muscat concluded by thanking and bidding farewell to Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma. He welcomed Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC to the post and pledged to support priorities she highlighted at the leaders’ summit such as gender equality and combatting domestic violence. “We stand ready to work with you,” he affirmed.