Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Commonwealth Business Council

  We refer to the above White Paper on International Development presented to Parliament in December 2000.

  Our comments are as follows:

  The Commonwealth Business Council was established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in October 1997 to help in the removal of barriers to trade, promote investment, foster a good environment for business and investment and link business into government policy through public-private dialogues including with Commonwealth Heads of Government and Commonwealth Finance Ministers.

  As the business end of the Commonwealth, we entirely agree with the analysis of globalisation as set out in the White Paper and endorse the agenda for bringing sustainable benefits to developing countries. Many of the issues raised are already part of our programme of work encouraging the private sector to invest in developing Commonwealth countries as the White Paper acknowledges.

  There are two issues in particular we would like to raise under the Chapters Harnessing Private Finance and Capturing the Gains from Trade.

  The launch of an Africa Private Infrastructure Financing Facility later this year is in our minds an essential ingredient to developing long-term public and private funding for private infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa. We would like to be involved in the design of the structure of the APIFF and would aim to work with DFID in launching the Facility in work-shops and symposiums throughout Africa to develop the capacity of the developing African countries in taking on PFI projects and bringing in the private sector investors and lenders.

  The second area concerns the gains from trade. We have already taken the initiative to organise conferences to discuss WTO issues as they affect the developing Commonwealth countries and we would aim to work with DFID in structuring further events, particularly focused on Africa where the greatest injustices under the present world trade system are felt. We agree that there is a need to develop the capacity of developing countries to participate in international negotiations and to take advantage of new trading opportunities that could be created via greater private sector investment in infrastructure development.

  CBC has strong links to Commonwealth Governments and to major private sector investors throughout the Commonwealth. We would aim to use our network to leverage up on DFID's agenda.

Mohan Kaul

Director General

Commonwealth Business Council

January 2001

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