On 11th March, 2019 was the Commonwealth Day and celebrations are took place in more than the 53 members States and territories around the world. The theme for 2019 is “A Connected Commonwealth’” which encourages collaboration to protect natural resources and the environment – particularly, with the adoption in 2018 of the Commonwealth Blue Charter, of the ocean which connects so many member countries. Under the Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment there is increased cooperation on trade and investment towards inclusive economic empowerment so that all people, particularly women, youth and marginalized communities, are able to share the fruit of progress and prosperity. President Museveni’s says the Commonwealth is a very valuable institution where we can trade goods and services, we can exchange tourists, and we can also have business investments.
So many countries including Uganda have been at the forefront of promoting the principles that guides the Association of former British colonies and others such as Cameroon, Malta, Mozambique and Rwanda which joined because of mutual benefits. The Commonwealth has evolved in terms of social, cultural, political and economic in collaboration with other global institutions in helping its people to prosper and benefit from the terms of trade and international cooperation. It has advanced mutual respect and cultural diversity across continents notwithstanding the modern day challenges faced by current and former members like Fiji, Sri-Lanka, Zimbabwe, Cameroon facing Anglophone verse Francophone ideology tearing the country apart, the tension between India and Pakistan and now Uganda and Rwanda the host of the next Commonwealth Summit (CHOGM) 2020.
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards socio- economic development that is inclusive and sustainable. The values and principles around which the 53 member countries and their 2.4 billion people connect are brought together in the Commonwealth Charter 2013. A key contribution of the Commonwealth has been during the World Trade Organization’s negotiations as noted by the Director-General Roberto Azevêdo saying that the support provided by Commonwealth members for the multilateral trading system is hugely important. “Bringing together countries of all sizes, from all continents, this group has a powerful voice,” and the institution will “continue to be a strong and positive voice” in maintaining and strengthening the rules and structures in place today that facilitate global trade.
Over the years, the Commonwealth has been a champion of the global youth movement and key was the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (#9CYMM) held in Kampala, 2017 at which the ministers said they would pursue policies to promote the professionalization of youth work and promote youth and social entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, as well as innovative financing mechanisms, such as youth impact bonds. They agreed to encourage the private sector to “take steps to address the skills gap and provide more apprenticeships and decent entry-level jobs for young people” and to take steps to promote digital literacy and skills training and education among the youth.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General Ms. Patricia Scotland says that our future success rests with the contributions of young people in sustaining our values and principles and the goal is to build a consensus on the priorities the leaders must pursue to enable young people to play a positive and active role in promoting development, peace and democracy. Queen Elizabeth says “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” Happy Commonwealth day.
Authored by: Kiapi K. Freddie -Commonwealth Association-Uganda Efirstname.lastname@example.org