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An update due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic


An update due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

The Commonwealth Business Forum has grown into a major international event, drawing together business and government leaders from all Commonwealth countries for a dialogue on practical ways to enhance trade and investment. Traditionally, the CBF has been a 70/30 split of attendees from business and government.

You may have seen on social media that the Commonwealth Heads of Government, led by Rwanda as incoming Chair-in-Office, have agreed to postpone the CHOGM week scheduled for June 2020. This decision was taken in the light of the best scientific and medical advice and forecasts on the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Commonwealth Business Forum Kigali 2020 Taskforce and Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council have been contingency planning for this over the last few weeks and we are, therefore, well prepared. New dates will be published in due course by Rwanda, as host government, and the Commonwealth Secretariat following a consultation process across the 54 nations.

The rescheduled Commonwealth Business Forum will be globally important. It will be the leadership hub for Commonwealth business’s post-Corvid-19 recovery effort. We will set out the recovery and growth plan for Commonwealth trade and our supply chains. The private sector, hand in hand with government has a critical role to play in shaping our new world. CBF Kigali will see the launch of new collaborative initiatives distilled from the very best ideas. Our revised and enhanced Forum will host delegates and partners from around the Commonwealth as they contribute to the debate and interact with Heads of Government, senior Ministers and other global leaders.

We invite you to be part of this process. We look forward to your contribution as part of what we will jointly make the most important CBF ever held. We will continue to keep you informed including communicating new dates as soon as they are agreed by the Heads of Government.

The official statement from HE Paul Kagame and the Commonwealth Secretary General, issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat can be found below:

As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary to postpone the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 22 – 27 June 2020.

The 26th CHOGM and associated events will be held in Kigali at a time to be announced in due course.

This decision was made in accordance with the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the Commonwealth Secretariat and the CHOGM Technical Manual, as well as with precedent.

His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda said, “In the coming months, every Commonwealth nation will be fully focused on combatting Covid-19 and its socio-economic impact on our people. Our organisation’s deep reservoirs of solidarity and expertise will be invaluable tools as we work together globally to ensure no country is left behind. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM once the pandemic has been defeated.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC said, “The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the course of our modern history. Lives have been lost, economies are shrinking, and livelihoods have been shattered. It is difficult to predict what the new normal will look like. We must be mindful of the risks large meetings pose to all. The current circumstances require heroic decisions. We stand together with Rwanda, and thank all our member countries and, in particular the United Kingdom as our Chair in Office, who have suffered so grievously, for the support and commitment they have shown in these trying times. I too warmly look forward to reuniting with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in the beautiful country of Rwanda.”