Regional business leaders came together this week in Durban with experts and governments to come up with concrete proposals to strengthen trade and investment, and empower women, in the Indian Ocean Rim region.
Over 200 delegates gathered in Durban to attend IORA’s Modernising Trade in the Indian Ocean Rim Conference on 17-18 June 2019, which was co-hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of South Africa, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia.
Proposals discussed at the conference focussed on improving feedback systems between business and government; using new technologies to share and track trading information; fostering innovation and growth in IORA; establishing a women’s entrepreneurship initiative with the support of the United States; and accelerating implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
IORA’s Secretary-General, Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, said the conference “was a rare opportunity to bring together business and government leaders to focus specifically on the Indian Ocean Rim, which is so clearly central to global commerce and trade flows”.
The conference featured the 24th meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF) on 18 June, during which senior business figures decided to pursue more regular dialogue with governments of the Indian Ocean Rim region.
Chair of the IORBF, Ms Judi Nwokedi of South Africa (Chief Operating Officer of Tourvest and former AREVA Senior Vice President), said “the IORBF is a strong platform for public-private dialogue, and has an important role to play in increasing the IORA region’s attractiveness for trade and investment.”
The conference also featured the 18th meeting of IORA’s Working Group on Trade and Investment; the second meeting of IORA’s Working Group on Women’s Economic Empowerment; a side event by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to mark the ICC’s centenary year, and a research validation workshop held by UN Women. The conference was attended by representatives of 19 IORA Member States (Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United Arab Emirates) and six Dialogue Partners (China, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and the United States).