- Trade and common standards
Business in the Commonwealth
As a body of countries, the Commonwealth plays a major part in the world economy on multiple levels. Its members possess shared values — a desire to be competitive on the world stage, an embracing of their inherent diversity and contrasts, alongside a shared heritage and resulting interconnection.
In a business context, the Commonwealth’s diversity makes it extremely competitive. The Commonwealth is made up of a diverse mix of 11 high, 14 upper middle, 18 lower middle and ten lower income countries*. The Commonwealth is a major player in many industries throughout the world; examples include mining where Commonwealth nations rank in the top tier of producers of gold, diamonds, platinum and other metals; information technology services and publishing, where dominance is owed in part to the widespread nature of the English language in Commonwealth member countries; and tourism, due to the vast geographical and cultural range of member countries. Tourism is a major contributor to GDP; seven Commonwealth countries and territories are in the top 10 countries in the world in terms of the sector’s contribution to GDP, many of which are small island states.In financial services including banking and insurance, Commonwealth countries and territories are the biggest offshore financial centres in the world. Another significant industry is that of accountancy, where all the largest firms originate and work within the Commonwealth, and where the most prestigious and ubiquitous international qualifications were created.
*World Bank income classifications
Trade and common standards
The mix of developed, emerging and developing countries that exist within the Commonwealth actively encourages a large degree of intra-trading. This was highlighted in a study by the Royal Commonwealth Society, with an average for each member of around one-third. Trade is essential for developing countries to extinguish poverty; and with trade between pairs of Commonwealth countries being up to 50 per cent more valuable than with other countries, the Commonwealth acts as a support network for its developing members.
This ability to be competitive is also supported by the members’ common heritage. For example the embedded nature of the English language and legal system amongst the member nations allows the Commonwealth to be well equipped for international business. The widespread literacy of English allows the Commonwealth to be at the core of globalisation, and makes the business world accessibility to the whole social spectrum— a characteristic which might be lacking in other linguistic environments. This success is highlighted in how five Commonwealth countries rank in the top 10 of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.