Commonwealth Business Forum

CBF 2022 Partners

The Commonwealth Business Forum 2022

Kigali, Rwanda, 21 – 23 June 2022

Over three days at the end of June, seventeen hundred delegates from across the Commonwealth and beyond gathered in Kigali for the 12th Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF). It was the first CBF held in Africa since 2007, and the tremendous uptake has once again demonstrated the Commonwealth’s capacity to deliver opportunities for the global business community.


From the 21st to the 23rd June the Forum, hosted by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board, held 35 sessions, breakfasts, and networking sessions at the Kigali Convention and Exhibition Centre. Under the CHOGM theme of “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating and Transforming”, delegates gathered to discuss issues most pressing to the Commonwealth business community. The CBF programme is purposely designed to be as diverse as possible and provides a platform for large corporates, SMEs, and international organisations from every corner of the Commonwealth.


The world is in a vastly different place to when the Commonwealth last met in 2018, and the topic at the forefront of the Forum was the power of the Commonwealth’s network to provide inclusive economic growth and recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing effects of recent war in the Ukraine. While the Commonwealth is not a formal trading bloc, the discussion also looked at how the Commonwealth can work together to leverage new markets and new opportunities. The Forum was opened by HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and addressed by Heads of Government and Ministers from the UK, Nigeria, Gambia, Malta, Jamacia, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas and Botswana among others.


Following the Opening Ceremony, two key sessions ‘A Global Reset: Leveraging the Commonwealth for Global Recovery’ and ‘Commonwealth Trade: Challenging Protectionisms and Reducing Barriers to Business’ focussed on the key thematic areas which drove the rest of the programme. Panels and sessions were constructed to represent the width and breath of Commonwealth perspectives and issues, and the programme included sessions on the future of work, fashion, health, technology, to the importance of impact investing, among many more.


CBF 2022 also convened, for the first time, ‘Think Tank’ style roundtables, which convened groups of sector experts on Food Security, Energy Security, Business and Professional Services and Skills and Education. These Think tanks will continue to meet and will support the Government of Rwanda during its two years as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth to develop policy directions and outcomes.


The Forum included its traditional exhibition and networking spaces, allowing delegates to meet, connect, and forge new business relationships throughout their time in Kigali.


As well as an extensive programme, the Commonwealth Business Forum also featured networking events, including, mixer sessions, a drinks reception at the International Conference Centre, overlooking the city, and a gala dinner, hosted by the Prime Minister of Rwanda.


The Commonwealth was ready to meet in person once again, as was the business community. As Lord Marland, Chairman of CWEIC concluded in his opening remarks “Let the business begin”.