Strengthening health systems
The 2014/15 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone was devastating. It affected the West African country disproportionately, taking nearly 4,000 lives – more than a third of the global death toll. In the aftermath, the government took steps to be better able to deal with future outbreaks of communicable diseases.
Assisting young entrepreneurs
Mercy Zulu, 25, is a Commonwealth correspondent from Lusaka in Zambia. In 2016, she wrote about joblessness amongst millennials in her country, and the need for Zambia to be more entrepreneurial.
Shaping youth development
Abhik Sen and Rafiullah Kakar believe that the world has a window of opportunity. The editors of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s 2016 Global Youth Development Index (YDI) wrote about it in The Guardian newspaper. Launched in 2013, the updated YDI has been commended as a tool for helping policy-makers.
Helping people with recovered funds
On 11 May 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, gave the keynote speech at Tackling Corruption Together, a major conference in London. The president, having pledged to drive out corruption in his homeland, called for an international initiative to deal with cross-border corruption and facilitate the return of stolen assets.
Providing hope on climate change
In Kiribati and other Pacific island countries, regular flooding from rising sea levels is destroying houses, killing crops and poisoning drinking water. On land, climate change is leading to desertification, droughts, wildfires, decreasing crop yields, and diminishing food and water security.
Supporting youth-led climate activism
Karuna Rana is from Mauritius, an island state in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the Commonwealth’s small and vulnerable members. Ms Rana and other young people from those countries understand better than anyone else on earth, the threat of global warming. They are the people who are witnessing its effects most directly.
Unlocking climate finance funds
Of all countries on earth, small island states are most at risk from climate change. So there was a ray of hope for them in 2016 with the opening of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub. This new Commonwealth initiative will enable vulnerable and developing member countries to draw down funding from a global pot with a target of US$100 billion a year by 2020.
Providing trade advice
Philda Maiga is a trade adviser to the Kenya Government. She’s working with them to increase the country’s exports to the rest of the world. Ultimately, their aim is to create growth and jobs for the benefit of all Kenyans. To achieve this, they are striving to link the government’s trade policy to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and align it with Agenda 2030.
Facilitating finance for trade
Small and developing countries need help with boosting their trade and investment flows. So, in November 2015, the Commonwealth joined forces with the Governments of India, Malta, Mauritius and Sri Lanka to open a guarantee fund – the Commonwealth Trade Financing Facility – which is underpinned by voluntary contributions.
Harnessing the Commonwealth trade advantage
Were you aware of the trading advantage that businesses in Commonwealth countries enjoy? Very simply, if you trade within the Commonwealth, exporting from one member to another, it is approximately 19% cheaper to do so than it would be outside. In March 2017, that advantage was the focus of attention at a special meeting in London – the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Roundtable, which the Secretariat and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council jointly convened.