As globalisation has advanced, many small states and countries in Africa have been marginalised and their share of global trade and investment has declined. Growth in these areas has been faster elsewhere as these countries have frequently been hampered by lack of readily available information for investors and trading partners and an entrenched misperception of risk.
Africa has achieved improved macro-economic stability but investment remains sluggish and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals has been disappointing. In order to achieve these goals, economic growth needs to be pro-poor and inclusive.
The vulnerability of small states has been made more evident in recent years by faster than anticipated trade preferences, a worsening debt profile; HIV/AIDS; greater frequency and intensity of natural disasters; and increased youth unemployment, crime and insecurity.
South Asia has recorded impressive economic growth rates this decade but inclusive growth remains a priority for countries in the region. Despite progress in reducing the number of poor, the region continues to be home to the largest number of the world’s poor. Persistent challenges remain in the delivery of basic services to the deprived which is compounded by rapid urbanisation and inadequate rural infrastructure.
At the global level, financial instability in major markets, barriers to trade in both goods and services, shortcomings in institutional trading arrangements as well as shortcomings in global economic governance continue to impact on economic prospects of developing countries.
We continue to push for an outcome of the Doha round that is favourable to developing countries.
We support regional and other trading agreements such as the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Economic Partnership Agreements.
We work for widespread and fundamental reform in international institutions. Our specific focus is on enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the systems of global economic and environmental governance. Our aim is to support the development of a Commonwealth consensus on these issues with a view to achieving lasting change.
We spread good practices in areas such as investment, promotion, debt management, small and medium enterprise development, improving productivity and achieving economic diversification.
We initiate and support policies and actions to advocate special treatment for small states in the international system, to reduce their vulnerability and promote approaches to address the challenges they face.