• The  Commonwealth Business Forum will be organised alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and is set to take place in April 2018 in London, for the first time in its 20-year history.
  • 800  senior business and Government leaders will attend the Commonwealth Business Forum 2018 – a unique platform for dialogue, bringing together a range of industries and economies.
  • The Commonwealth is the perfect network for business, with a combined population of 2.4 billion people, 60% of whom are under the age of 30.
  • The combined GDP of the Commonwealth is expected to reach USD14 trillion by 2020.

Less than 50 days before the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) comes to the UK for the first time, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) has announced De La Rue, the leading international bank note and passport manufacturer, and Wood, a global leader in project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets, as the Official Partners of the Forum.

The CWEIC is dedicated to facilitating trade and investment throughout the 53 states of the Commonwealth and supporting private sector companies and governments to promote economic activity, with the CBF a cornerstone event. The invitation-only Forum will attract over 800 senior business and Government leaders from across the Commonwealth.

De La Rue provides the products and services that help our customers to keep their economies, populations and products secure. They have spent the last 200 years developing the knowledge, experience and expertise necessary to make this possible. They work with governments and commercial organisations across the globe to deliver the tools and foundations needed to create trust in society and its institutions – by supporting financial transaction and inclusion and through the secure free movement of people and goods.

Wood is a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets. The company operates in more than 60 countries, employing around

55,000 people, with revenues of around $10 billion. Wood’s services extend from concept to decommissioning across a broad range of markets, including upstream and downstream oil & gas, chemicals, environment and infrastructure, power & process, clean energy, mining, nuclear, utilities and general industrial sectors.

De La  Rue  have been supporters of  the Commonwealth  trade and  investment  agenda for  many years. They sponsored the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting in London early in 2017 and we are pleased they have decided to continue that partnership by supporting the Commonwealth Business Forum. De La Rue provide an integral service which underpins economies and enables prosperity. I very much look forward to working with them in the coming weeks.

I am delighted that Wood has chosen to partner with the Commonwealth Business Forum and am especially  pleased  to  welcome them  as  Strategic  Partners  of  the Commonwealth  Enterprise  and Investment Council. Wood is doing excellent work across many Commonwealth countries; the services they provide are essential to emerging economies and the developing energy sector, which is so key to prosperity.

Lord Marland of Odstock, CWEIC Chairman
Since its inception, the Commonwealth has been at the heart of our business and we are fortunate that we trade with more than 86% of Commonwealth countries. The majority of our staff are based in the Commonwealth and we have factories in Kenya, Sri Lanka and Malta, which is why it is hugely important to us.

The Business Forum is also a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our existing relationships and build new ones - it’s through business and government, public and private sectors working better than ever together, that the Commonwealth will fulfil its extraordinary potential. We believe the Commonwealth is a huge engine for global growth and by collaborating with our partners now and in the future, it will only go from strength to strength.

Martin Sutherland, CEO, De La Rue
The Commonwealth remains a powerful force for social and economic good in the world and we are proud to be engaged with the Business Forum. Wood is a pioneering UK-headquartered company, working  in many  Commonwealth  countries  and  beyond, designing,  constructing  and  maintaining important infrastructure and engineering and innovating in emerging and developed countries. We look forward to adding our perspective to the forum and in particular discussing some of the challenges around sustainability and the legacy we leave future generations.
Robin Watson, chief executive, Wood

Participants in CBF will explore how businesses can maximise the opportunities presented by the Commonwealth Factor, which estimates that trade costs are on average 19% lower between Commonwealth countries due to the shared values, regulatory systems and language. Discussions will focus on key themes such as:

  • Accessing modern financial services;
  • Easing the pathway for business and growth;
  • Harnessing Commonwealth technology and innovation;
  • Creating a new attitude to sustainable business;
  • Mobilising an export economy; and
  • Attracting inward investment

Intra-Commonwealth trade, which was estimated to be worth $525 billion in 2015, is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2020. CWEIC’s ambition is to encourage and grow intra- Commonwealth trade and investment and assist member organisations in developing high quality trade and investment opportunities.

The CWEIC is also due to announce the first round of confirmed speakers for the CBF. All speakers at the Forum have personally been invited by Lord Marland of Odstock, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, and are considered to be leaders in their chosen field.