At the recent AIB 2021 Online Conference there was much talk of COVID-19, the prognosis for world trade, policy impact, innovation and sustainability. All these issues come together in one major report and two key events highlighted by the Commonwealth Research Network in International Business (CRN-IB):- 


1.     Commonwealth Trade Review and launch: Commonwealth countries are estimated to have lost up to US$345 billion worth of trade in 2020, including $60 billion in intra-Commonwealth trade, according to 2021 Commonwealth Trade Review on “Energising Commonwealth Trade in a Digital World: Paths to Recovery Post-COVID”. Released on 13 July, the Commonwealth Trade Review provides a timely and comprehensive analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the trade and investment flows of Commonwealth member countries. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll globally, substantially impacting all Commonwealth members economies and leading to US$1.15 trillion in foregone gross domestic product (GDP) in just one year. Compared to pre-pandemic growth trends in 2020, Commonwealth economies contracted by approximately 10%. Most Commonwealth countries also experienced a significant decline in overall Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in 2020, with a loss of US$153 billion to the Commonwealth. 


Given the linkages between trade and investment and the role of FDI in supporting cross-border trade, these disruptions could limit trade prospects for Commonwealth countries.  Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said: “Our Commonwealth members can harness the ‘Commonwealth advantage’ to provide a post-pandemic tailwind that supports recovery, especially in small states, who have been particularly hard-hit. We know that trade can offer positive solutions to manage the pandemic and it’s an essential tool for building back better. Commonwealth members can draw on the mutual support and benefits offered through initiatives such as the Commonwealth’s Connectivity Agenda, Blue Charter, Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda and our other work that helps boost trade recovery in a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable way.”  


A reassuring finding from the Trade Review is that the Commonwealth trade advantage has remained strong and resilient, and is now estimated at 21 per cent, on average. On the investment side, this advantage has almost tripled since the 2015, to around 27 per cent.  For those interested, see this recent workshop on 'Exploring the notion of a “Commonwealth advantage” in trade' which brought senior policy-makers, business representatives and the IB community together on 23 March at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London.


See the digital report, PDF Report, and Blog (includes link to a 3m video and the 1 hour launch event which included a live contribution from Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization with additional remarks by Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and Dr Brendan Vickers, Head of International Trade Policy Section, Commonwealth Secretariat).  


2.     CWEIC Webinar: Bridging the Vaccine Deficit - Insights from the Front Line 

The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) is holding a webinar with the world’s leading experts on the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday 26 July from 1330 - 1430 BST.  

Click here to register 
for this emergency briefing on how to ensure a successful vaccination campaign, the challenges of vaccination rollouts and how to overcome them. 

Working at the forefront of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CWEIC Strategic Partner Crown Agents has been procuring and delivering PPE and vaccines to Governments across the world, and is contracted to supply over 37 million doses of Pfizer, Covishield, Covavax and Sinovac vaccines. From this experience, Crown Agents will be sharing up-to-the-minute insights into overcoming many unexpected challenges along the way, including transport delays, ultra-cold chain maintenance, and temperature incursions. 

Speakers include: 

  • Hon Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Malta 
  • Lord Marland, Chairman, CWEIC 
  • Fergus Drake, CEO, Crown Agents 
  • Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Immunologist and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge 
  • Senior Government representatives   

Discussion Topics: 

  • “From Lab to Jab” – Rewriting the rule book on procuring, distributing, and administering the COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • Best Practice: What does the early data tell us? 
  • The Commonwealth’s greatest logistical challenge: successfully transporting the vaccine from airport runways to health facilities in extreme and remote locations 
  • When is the vaccine not enough? The importance of syringes and sharps-boxes, health workers, expiry dates and overcoming vaccine hesitancy. 
  • How working with the private sector can accelerate the vaccine programme in your country. 
  • What will “living with the virus” mean for your country. 

Attendance is free but registration is required. Please click here to register. 

Arif Zaman

Bloomsbury Institute London
e: [log in to unmask]
AIB-L is brought to you by the Academy of International Business.
For information:
To post message: [log in to unmask]
For assistance: [log in to unmask]
AIB-L is a moderated list.