30 October, 2020

Blog

Can The Commonwealth Enhance Common Wealth?

By Hilmy Cader

Hilmy Cader

Hilmy Cader

The Opportunity

For an emerging nation like Sri Lanka, the CHOGM provides a perfect platform to promote the country as a destination for FDI, Tourism and as a source of Exports.  The Government has made a significant investment in preparing the nation for this event, which will certainly have the world’s media attention.  I will not get into the debate about the level of expenditure for CHOGM, because it has already been made! What is important now is to ensure that Sri Lanka gets the best return on this investment.  For this to happen, the relevant authorities like the EDB, BOI, CSE, Tourist Board, Tea Board and the Foreign Missions must be set measurable targets. The heads of these institutions should be able to demonstrate, in 6 to 12 months that quantifiable progress has been made towards these targets. Perhaps a TV show at which they will present tangible results achieved.

What gets measured gets done!

The Relevance

I am a strong believer and practitioner in asking the very basic questions and always challenging it with my favourite question ‘So what?’  The Commonwealth did not escape this test! I started asking myself: Who is the Commonwealth? Why do they exist? What do they do? (which every organization should ask!). To me, the answer is simple: it is an ‘Old Boys Club’ of the countries that (Great) Britain conquered and colonized. It has no geographical relevance; neither does it have any economic or political relevance.  Can you really be a global influencer in today’s world – if USA, Japan, China, Germany, France, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia are all not members of your ‘Club’? So, how can an ‘alliance’ that lacks relevance and influence make a difference?

The Impact

The effectiveness of any organization can only be measured by the impact on its constituency. For an association that has existed for 72 years, what has the Commonwealth achieved? The Commonwealth constitutes 27% of the world’s population, but only 14% of the world’s GDP. Close to 550 million people in the Commonwealth countries live below the poverty line.

Neither are the other socio-economic indicators any better.  Think of the challenges faced by Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Rwanda for example – you cannot blame it all on the Commonwealth, but what has been the Commonwealth’s contribution to alleviate these human sufferings?  I go back to the questions: What is the Commonwealth’s reason for existence?

The Carbon Footprint

Over 50 World Leaders and their grand entourages will be fly in their ‘gas guzzling’ jets and partake in ‘high energy’ events – can you just imagine the carbon footprint they will leave behind? This  also applies to all such global ‘talk shops’, be it Davos, G20 or the UN General Assembly, where grand speeches are made, applauded and then the message forgotten!

My point is: Can you not use technology and connectivity to achieve the same impact?  This leads me to the final point.

The Bottom-Line

After incurring all these expenditure (and larger ‘hole’ in the ozone), what will we achieve at the end of this summit and as a consequence of this?  Whose responsibility was it in the Commonwealth to be accountable for the outcome of the last summit?  With so much of human suffering in the Commonwealth (without access to the very basics of life that you and I take for granted), how can we justify such expenditure by 50 + countries?

Finally, I find it difficult to understand why it is called ‘Commonwealth’?!  What the world really needs is more common wealth and of course more common sense!

Let’s hope!

*Hilmy Cader, CEO – MTI Consulting – Hilmy Cader can be contacted on hilmy@mtiworldwide.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    The “Club” is bigger than the commonwealth gang Hilmy. If you really want to go back to basics, follow the money trail. It will always lead you to people doing the crime. The ROI can be discussed, as I’m sure there would be a genuine return on this CHOGM circus, but the return will not be for the people of this country but only to one family!!

    • 0
      0

      The Common Poverty of Nations is a better name for this British Colonial relic – until it is shut down..

      There is also a poverty of theory and ethics in the CHOGM circus which is positively dangerous to the GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD, good governance, democracy and rule of law in the global south since it is a party to celebrate a Club of African and Asian Dictators with the patronage of the Old white Commonwealth countries.

      Thankfully Canada and India – the Jewel in the Crown – will boycott this sick show!

      • 0
        0

        Clearly as suggested by Mr. Cader we need to measure outcomes and process, and the time has come for a comprehensive, measured and results-based EVALUATION of the Commonwealth of Nations performance in the past 2 decades.
        No organization is above EVALUATION and results measurement. Given the track record of the Commonwealth of Nations a TRANSPARENT EVALUATION of the organization and its RESULTS should be a PRIORITY at this time. The same criteria of development project results measurement and evaluation is applicable to this outfit and its programs and projects.
        If it is proved as it no doubt would be, that this British Colonial old boys club for third world Dictators really promotes the “Common Poverty of Nations” and inequality and leaves a massive CARBON FOOTPRINT with NO measurable benefits to the peoples of these countries with regard to promoting EQUITABLE growth, development and democracy this WHITE ELEPHANT British Colonial Outfit should be SHUT DOWN.

  • 0
    0

    Two worlds apart. Those who govern at the expense of the public and the public who toil to earn for them to spend. CHOGM could have been staged at 1/10 the expense in a more down to earth manner and still earn whatever benefits.

    The benefits are derived from values and principles not the show, glitz and glitter. Should we try to upstage the developed world and deceive none but ourselves or admit that we are developing country are show the real picture?

    The strength of the commonwealth could be achieved by unity of purpose and cooperation not through showmanship, Prodawa. For instance planting trees and plants overnight. Carpeting roads in a hurry with no proper finish or quality, money down the drain.

    These should have been done to benefit the people over the years not to impress foreign leaders. When 60% of our people live in poverty what do we gain and why should we hide the true picture? Poverty is our pride and badge. The sign of corrupt leadership.

  • 0
    0

    How much tourism can a small island stand?
    1.Pollution is too much in the Indian Ocean around Sri laanka
    2.Land from poor people is being grabbed by tourism businesses = social cost is getting too much.

  • 0
    0

    As a marketeer, you would agree that costs incurred in branding and promotion cannot be directly related to bottom line, but brand has to be build and the message re-inforced.

    Similarly CHOGM is the launching pad to exhibit liberated SL (Brand)and advertise to the world that it’s violent past is over

    No, it’s not a western democracy, nor did the west arrive where it is without war and revolution, but SL will shape up fast, even without Manmohan Singh.

    Consider the many cocktail parties and conferences thrown by corporate SL, can you justify or measure their success…often it’s at the whims and fancies of the CEO(MR)…in which the shareholders(Citizens) have no say

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Hilmy, Mr. Petirioner, you got it right… it dosnt go to the any of common people, as Many Failed African countries will start pumping money in Entry Port system of Account where all curropted cash will be in Central Bank where MR’s dirty money will come back to country via some African state like Ruwanda or some black shit countries.

    In Bahamas, 625 Million $ worth of money lying in one account, which was abducted and Ransom of Tamil and Mulsim businessman money. These Sinhala people are Jelous, from the Judge to the Top Police to the Army to the Beggers are Jelous of Hard earning people’s money….

    CHOGAM will be Sogham ( in tamil its Sad) will see how far they go…

  • 0
    0

    Excellent and thanks Mr. Carder!
    The moral of the story is that the Commonwealth of Nations which is really the Common Poverty of Nations, as you point out, needs to be SHUT DOWN. It has NO relevance other than being a celebration of British Imperalism, racism, and colonialism which is why CHOGM will celebrate Prince Charles 65th birthday in the Asian post-colony/ banana republic of Sri Lanka. The Commonwealth generates a big Carbon Footprint for nothing and is bad for the ENVIRONEMNT. Two points:
    1. The Commonwealth is not just irrelevant and obsolete, it is positively DANGEROUS to the PUBLIC GOOD, DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE AND RULE OF LAW which it claims to be its “core values”. It is an organization that promotes MILITARIZATION covertly, while boosting Asian and African Military Dictators (like Mahinda Rajapakse whose regime is accused of war crimes), to whom Britain sells arms and intelligence technologies during CHOGM Business Forums, while preaching human rights and rule of law!
    2. The fact is, all the SPIN generated at the Common Poverty of Nations (CHOGM) will not fool foreign investors – as indicated by the miniscule FDI figures for Sri Lanka. Foreign investors look for good governance, honest regulators and regulatory institutions and economic stability to invest in the REAL ECONOMY that produces real as opposed to fictional growth. Foreign investors except for Casino Kings are not even looking at Sri Lanka because the CORRUPT and UNEDUCATED Rajapakese brothers are a bunch of looters of public and private wealth and they know it. Rajapassa is running desperately behind the likes of Packer..

  • 0
    0

    ” but the return will not be for the people of this country but only to one family!!”

    could it be HAGUE that ur talking about ?

  • 0
    0

    The proficiency in English – the primary international language, is a common wealth of these nations. The love of Cricket is another. They increase tourism,investments in services and manufacture. India & UK will remain as two of our major markets for tourism because of this factor. We need to overcome the hostility of the Tamil Diaspora in these countries to maximize the returns from this common wealth!

  • 0
    0

    The Sri Lankan economy is in tatters, so what. One wonders how this could be a perfect place for FDI that is if the writer means attracting casino mobsters. Budget tourist will help the local corner shop and yes Haraam produce will have an export market. Historically, CHOGM clowns trying to feed on the poor. It will take proper leadership to restore the lost credibility of the island nation.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.