By Onome Amuge
The Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 56 independent countries including Nigeria, is on course to meet its goal of $2 trillion in trade among member countries by 2030, with digital trade projected to substantially drive growth.
Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth secretary-general, made this known at the just concluded Commonwealth trade ministers meeting (CTMM) at Marlborough House in London, United Kingdom.
Scotland, who expressed confidence that the goal would be reached on time and speculated that it could potentially be exceeded, said:
“We think our overall trade should be at $2tn by 2030. The reason we are still fairly confident that it will stay at least that is because of the movement we’ve seen.
“We’ve got the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement and the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, and then the push that’s going to come from digital trade.”
The 2023 Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, which marked the first time the group had met in person since 2019,placed a strong emphasis on cooperation for resilient, inclusive, green and digital economies.
Building upon the initiatives agreed upon by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2022, the trade ministers exchanged views on the challenges facing the global economy and highlighted the importance of building sustainable and resilient economies for post-COVID recovery.
They expressed their shared commitment to deepen collaboration to support all members, especially developing countries, least developed countries, small states and small island developing states, to reap the gains from international trade.
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the need to foster a digital transition and facilitate digital trade for inclusive growth and development.
Previous research produced by the Commonwealth secretariat has estimated that trade digitalisation could boost exports by as much as $1.2 trillion in coming years as the cost of trade falls and access to finance is increased.
The Commonwealth secretary-general, maintained that progress has been made in boosting trade digitalisation and the multinational organuisation is committed to doing everything it can to deliver $2 trillion by 2030.
“We are on track and the Commonwealth as a family is absolutely determined,” she added.