British High Commissioner Holly Tett has advised women to join the Commonwealth Business Forum to advance their businesses.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday evening during the launch of the forum, the High Commissioner said trade between Commonwealth countries has seen phenomenal growth, rising from about $200 billion in 2000 to more than $600 billion as of now and is likely to surpass $1 trillion by 2020.
Said Tett: “It is pleasing to see a lot of Malawian women being involved in business. With this Commonwealth Forum, we should encourage many women to join because the fruits of networking are immense.
“The Commonwealth cannot act as one big group on every issue. I think it is best seen as a myriad of smaller effective networks within this larger network.The Commonwealth Business Forum is one of such networks which will get special attention at the Commonwealth Summit.”
According to Tett, there is growing economic dimension to the Commonwealth as its combined gross domestic product (GDP) has doubled since 1990 and now stands at $10.5 trillion and accounts for 14 percent of the global economy.
“There is a clear trade advantage with bilateral costs for trading partners in Commonwealth countries on average 19 percent less than between those in non Commonwealth countries,” she said.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalirani said the Commonwealth Women Forum is important in empowering women since they play a crucial role in any economy.
“This forum is important as it will empower women as well as promote their interests within the Commonwealth. When women are empowered, they can help in the development of any country,” she said.
The Commonwealth is an organisation of 53 member States who were once British colonies.