The Chairman Governance Transition Team, Professor David J Francis, who also doubles as the accredited Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at the Commonwealth Summit has deputised His Excellency President Brigadier General (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting where it was revealed that Sierra Leone will be amongst other nations to benefit from the Commonwealth Trade Finance Credit Facility.
The US $100 million Commonwealth Trade Finance Credit Facility will ensure that smaller nations within the Commonwealth have access to global markets. The Commonwealth Trade Finance Credit Facility is one of many measures discussed during the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the Lancaster House in London on Wednesday 18th April 2018.
During the session on Trade and Investment, two other critical issues discussed were how Commonwealth countries will have market access to the United Kingdom and other global markets in the post-Brexit period and removing trading barriers amongst Commonwealth countries.
One important commitment that was also made during the session by the Australian Foreign Minister was that 20% of the Australian Government Foreign Aid will be dedicated to develop the capacity of developing Commonwealth countries for trade negotiations.
As a trading bloc, the combined gross national income of all Commonwealth States is 10.7 trillion US dollars. Global trade amongst the Commonwealth States is currently estimated at 680 billion US dollars and by 2020 is projected to increase to 1 trillion US dollars. Therefore, the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment has been developed to provide a platform for policymakers and regulators from across the Commonwealth to explore new ideas, best practices and share experiences that facilitate trade as an investment.
The Commonwealth Foreign Ministers session was chaired by Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. After the session, the highly respected Professor David J Francis also had pleasantry exchanges with both the UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Boris Johnson and the Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland.