CWEIC 2018 – Encourages Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in Business.

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CWEIC 2018 – Encourages Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in Business.

The CWEIC is proud to promote and encourage gender equality and female empowerment in business and this year’s Commonwealth Business Forum will include dedicated sessions to tackling these issues.

The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), an organisation facilitating trade and investment throughout the 53 states of the Commonwealth, is today announcing a round of leading businesswomen as speakers for the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF).

All speakers at the Forum are personally invited by Lord Marland of Odstock, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, and are considered to be leaders in their chosen field. One of the key themes of CBF 2018 will be economic empowerment, and this announcement coincides with International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Approximately 70 senior business leaders and decision makers have been confirmed to speak at CBF 2018, including a number of leading female CEOs, founders, and representatives from global organisations. The speakers not only represent a diverse range of industries within the Commonwealth but are all outstanding examples of women who are at the forefront of their field.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Amy Jadesimi, a Nigerian physician, businesswomen, and entrepreneur who serves as the CEO of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), a state-of-the-art logistics and engineering facility located within the Port of Lagos in Nigeria.
  • Jessica Ground, Global Head of Stewardship at Schroders, the British multinational asset management company, and is a board member for the Investor Forum CIC. Schroders is also Strategic Partners of CWEIC.
  • Amali De Awalis, the CEO of Code First: Girls, and also one of CWEIC’s commonwealth first Mentors. Code First: Girls is a multi-award-winning social enterprise aiming to increase the number of women in tech.
  • Australian-born Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger, a digital global ledger that tracks and protects items of value, which is leading the market in the real-world application of blockchain technology. Everledger is a commonwealth first Export Champion.
  • Geetha Muralidhar is Chair and Managing Director of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, and also serves as the Managing Trustee of National Export Insurance Account Trust, set up by the Government of India.
  • Professor Ngaire Woods, the founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University.
  • New Zealander Kate Brown, Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership, a platform that enables island leaders and their supporters to act to build resilient and sustainable island communities.
  • Julia Deans who leads Futurpreneur Canada, a national non-profit organization that has helped more than 10,000 18-39-year-olds launch start-ups with its business coaching, financing, mentoring and other resources.
  • Margaret Doyle, Partner, and Head of Clients & Markets, Financial Services and Real Estate at Deloitte. She has also covered business and finance for a range of news organisations including The Daily Telegraph, The Economist and the BBC among many others.
  • Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist, author, and activist. A former Federal Minister for the Government of Pakistan, Dr. Nishtar is the founder and president of NGO Heartfile and Co-chair of the WHO High-Level Commission on NCDs.
  • Natasha Mudhar, CEO and Managing Director of Sterling Media, an award-winning global communications consultancy. Sterling Media has offices in London, Mumbai, and Delhi.
  • Singapore based Agnes Hugot, Co-Founder of Cites Gestion, and CEO of Fast Track Trade – a digital marketplace connecting SMEs across South-East Asia.

Phyllis Muscat was Chair of the CHOGM 2015 Taskforce and convened the first-ever Commonwealth Women’s Forum. Phyllis sits on the Board of the CWEIC. Commenting on today’s announcement she said:

“The Commonwealth is a fantastic network for promoting the empowerment of women across the world. As Chair of the CHOGM 2015 taskforce in Malta I worked with the Prime Minister of Malta to include a Commonwealth Women’s Forum in the CHOGM agenda for the first time, and as Chair in Office of the Commonwealth, the Government of Malta has continued to push for the promotion of women in business across the Commonwealth.  The Commonwealth Business Forum is an important opportunity to not only promote intra-Commonwealth trade and investment but also to advance the agenda as it affects women and girls across the member states. The economic empowerment of women is crucial to our agenda at CWEIC, so to have such a strong selection of important and influential women speaking and leading sessions at the Forum is fantastic. I was proud to convene the first ever Commonwealth Women’s Forum in Malta in 2015 and I am delighted to see the theme of economic empowerment taking center stage at CBF 2018.”

The CBF will be organised alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), set to take place in April 2018 in London, for the first time in 20 years.

With the Commonwealth’s cumulative population standing at 2.4 billion, the combined GDP of the Commonwealth nations is set to reach US$14 trillion by 2020. Intra-Commonwealth trade, which was estimated to be worth $525 billion in 2015, is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2020. CWEIC’s ambition is to encourage and grow intra-Commonwealth trade and investment and assist member organisations in developing high-quality trade and investment opportunities.

The CBF is an invitation-only event that will convene 800 senior business leaders with approximately 30 Heads of Government across three iconic Central London venues.


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