How the World can benefit from the Network Effects of the Commonwealth
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On April 16th, Commonwealth Heads of State will meet in London at the start of the UK’s chairmanship of the CHOGM process (which ends in 2020). While it is coincidental that this timing directly overlaps with the UK’s exit from the European Union, many in the UK have turned their focus back onto the Commonwealth, after years of neglect. The Commonwealth is an alignment of nations, a potentially powerful network that has lain dormant in recent history. It is also unique in that it counts as members some of the most developed countries in the world as well as the smallest microstates.
The Commonwealth has shared values and commitment to the rule of law, English common law and open trade, competition and property rights
protection. We believe that this network can be usefully deployed to help solve some of the difficulties that the world faces, particularly in terms of the lack of wealth creation and global growth.
While we do not advocate a Commonwealth trade zone or bloc, we do believe that the Commonwealth countries could do better at reducing the trade barriers that they impose on each other, and could also play an important role in ensuring that global meetings achieve better outcomes, leading to wealth creation and global growth. Financial inclusion is also on the list of issues to be addressed by Heads of State. Poorer Commonwealth nations are also adversely affected by lack of access to financial services. Correspondent banking relationships have declined in the Caribbean and parts of Africa for example as regulatory compliance burdens impact financial institutions.