Commonwealth Trade And Investment Summit (CTIS) Presents Opportunities For Pakistani Business

The Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit (CTIS) welcomed international businesspeople, ministers, and Strategic Partners to London for the 2023 event

Commonwealth Trade And Investment Summit (CTIS) Presents Opportunities For Pakistani Business

As the world wakes up to Pakistan’s immense potential, it’s more important than ever that Pakistani businesses forge new international partnerships. With more than 2.5 billion people, and a combined economy of more than $13.5 trillion, where better to start looking than the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, while Commonwealth member states benefit from 21% lower bilateral trading costs, a factor known as the ‘Commonwealth Advantage.’ 

For an example of the Commonwealth network in action, look no further than the 2023 Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit (CTIS), which showcased the vibrancy and vitality of the Commonwealth business community in no uncertain terms. The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) welcomed international businesspeople, ministers, and Strategic Partners to London for the 2023 Summit, which took place at the iconic Glaziers’ Hall on 27-28th November. 

CWEIC is the Commonwealth’s business organisation, with a mandate from the Commonwealth Heads of Government to work across the 56 member states to drive trade and investment. Alongside partners in both the public and private sector, CWEIC works to convene, support, and advise businesses interested in working within and across the Commonwealth.  

CWEIC works closely with its Strategic Partners, including Pakistani giants like Bestway Group. In 2020, CWEIC Deputy Chairman Lord Swire conducted a visit to Islamabad. This year’s CTIS was fortunate to receive a large Pakistani contingent, organised by the Pakistan-UK Business Council, giving delegates plenty of opportunities to meet and mix with businesses flying the flag for Pakistan in London. 

CTIS showcased the work that CWEIC has been doing to drive trade and investment throughout the Commonwealth network, working alongside more than 150 Strategic Partners to build bridges and provide support to businesses who recognise the Commonwealth’s immense potential. This year CWEIC has opened new Hub offices in Cameroon, serving Gabon and Togo, in Kenya, serving East and Central Africa, as well as offices in Singapore, and Bangladesh following the success of the Trade and Investment Forum in Dhaka, this September.

Across two days, delegates heard from high-quality international speakers such as Alderman Michael Mainelli (Lord Mayor of the City of London), H.E. Wamkele Mene (Secretary General, AfCFTA), Professor Benedict Oramah (President, African Export-Import Bank), and Mr Jim Ovia, CFR (Founder and Chairman, Zenith Bank). High-level panel discussions focused on issues as varied as the intersection between technology and healthcare, investment finance for emerging markets, and the role of the private sector in driving sustainability. 

This year’s guest of honour was the Hon Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa and next host of CHOGM, who gave her thoughts on the immense potential of the Commonwealth for small island states. Prime Minister Mata’afa also formally announced that the Commonwealth Business Forum will come to Samoa in 2024, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, following successful Forums in Malta, London, and Rwanda in previous years.

And of course, there were plenty of opportunities to meet, mix, and mingle, bringing Commonwealth businesses together for what they do best – networking. This year’s CTIS was testament to the vitality, vibrancy, and diversity of the Commonwealth’s business community. It was a chance to showcase the immense potential of the Commonwealth, and the work that CWEIC is doing to drive investment and growth across its 56 member states. It was also yet another example of growing international interest in Pakistani business, and a tangible example of how the Commonwealth can bring businesses together. 

The author is a Parliamentary Researcher at the House of Commons and Director of the Centre for Commonwealth Affairs