The Commonwealth and the Queen: Member States must take advantage of economic opportunities

The death of the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, sent shockwaves across the world and especially the Commonwealth of which she was the head and transformed enormously for the economic benefit of the Member States.

The Commonwealth, formerly known as the British Commonwealth, has origins that date back centuries, but the current version dates back almost 100 years. The association had been under the jurisdiction of the Queen for most of its existence.

The Republic

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of countries around the world that were once part of the British Empire, including Ghana.

The purpose of the association is to support member governments and to partner with the wider Commonwealth family and others, to enhance the welfare of all Commonwealth citizens and advance their interests common worldwide.

Formed in 1926 under the Balfour Declaration of 1926, it is one of the oldest political organizations in the world, predating the United Nations and NATO.

The purpose of the declaration was to form a union where all countries formerly under British rule were treated equally, with all countries pledging allegiance to the British king or queen.

From a handful of members, the Queen managed to take the number to 56 countries. It has 21 African countries, 13 Caribbean and United States countries, 11 Pacific island countries, eight Asian countries and three European countries.

Head of the Commonwealth

Automatically, King Charles III is now the head of the Commonwealth, but technically he is not – yet according to sources. Indeed, the head of the Commonwealth is not determined by family line. He must be chosen by the leaders of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Economics

Many continue to question the economic values ​​of the Commonwealth for member states like Ghana. This is so because there have been no instances where governments have mentioned how they and businesses can benefit from the association to improve their lot. Meanwhile, there are a number of Commonwealth opportunities that can be taken advantage of.

Trade Competitiveness – Commonwealth experts help member countries improve their global trade competitiveness. Many Commonwealth countries have only a limited domestic market, so it focuses on developing their export capabilities.

For example, 18 national projects are underway in the following countries: Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Grenada, Gambia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho, Seychelles and Sri Lanka. There are also three regional projects in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the East African Community (EAC).

Small States Trade Finance Facility – This Commonwealth-led fund helps small countries import goods at competitive prices. The fund guarantees loans made by lenders such as local banks, to encourage them to lend money to small and medium enterprises.

Public Debt Management Program – The Commonwealth also supports member countries’ efforts to effectively manage their debt portfolios.

The Debt Management Unit (DMU) of the Secretariat, through its Public Debt Management Program, supports member countries’ efforts to effectively manage their debt portfolios.

In line with the mission of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Sustainable Development Goals, the program aims to strengthen the policy framework, institutional and legal arrangements, institutional capacity and management information systems to support the prudent and effective management of debt in member countries, thereby supporting the objective of individual member countries to achieve debt sustainability, reduce the cost of servicing long-term debt, manage the risk of contingent liabilities as well as the risks of over-indebtedness.
The program is implemented through advisory support, capacity building and the provision and support of public debt management systems.

Oceans and Natural Resources – It also helps member countries sustainably manage their natural resources, in the ocean and on land.
Commonwealth countries are endowed with immense and valuable natural resources. These include millions of square kilometers of ocean space, significant renewable (wind, solar) and non-renewable (oil, gas, minerals) resources.

When managed equitably and sustainably, the exploitation of natural resources strengthens national resilience in the face of economic and social crises, improving the prosperity of all citizens.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, for example, helps its member countries to sustainably manage their natural resources, in the ocean and on land, for the benefit of present and future generations. It provides technical assistance and supports member countries in developing policies, laws, designing fiscal regimes and strengthening national institutions as they seek to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

The program is implemented through direct advisory support, capacity building and collaborations.

Commonwealth Fintech Toolkit – With the emergence of technology-enabled financial services (fintech) and the profound changes in the production and delivery of financial services that they have enabled, Commonwealth Central Bank Governors (CCBGs) have expressed the desire to improve technical guidance on fintech implementation.

The Commonwealth Fintech Toolkit is a response to this call. The toolkit aims to build the capacity of senior executives and their teams, helping them understand the building blocks of fintech, identify which policy interventions may make sense in a given context, and how to implement that decision. .

Go forward

For 70 years, the Queen has laid a solid foundation with her vision clearly laid out and exposed to the many members to tap into.

She left and left behind the Commonwealth which she eloquently transformed. The next steps will not be reserved for the next leader, but for individual and collective Member States to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that arise to help improve the well-being of their respective countries, peoples and businesses.

The Queen’s fine legacy must therefore be seen as a living legacy on which Member States can build their economies.