President of the Senate of Nigeria, Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh and Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dr. Shirin Chaudhury will co-Chair the Commonwealth Africa Summit Parliamentary Roundtable. 

Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury is the first woman Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament and has experience of working with Commonwealth countries and governments. She was involved in implementing the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action and held the Commonwealth Gender Chair for two years. Bangladesh hosted the 10th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers’ Meeting in 2013 under her leadership. 

Senator Dr. Bukola Saraki was the Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget in 2000 where he was responsible for preparing the 2000/2001 National Budget. Dr. Saraki equally initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill and served on the Economic Policy Co-ordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of key economic policies for Nigeria.

As State Minister for Women and Children, Dr Chaudhury promoted gender equality and contributed in formulating National Women Development Policy, Children Policy and Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act. As a Commonwealth Scholar she completed Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University of Essex, UK (2000) and was conferred an Honorary Ph.D. (2014). Shirin was awarded Asia Society’s Humanitarian Services Award in 2010 for her role in preventing violence against women and has been a practicing Advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court since 2009.

Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP was elected as the Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee in October 2014 during the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and General Assembly of the CPA.

On the other hand, with a vision to translate his experiences into progress and development for the people of his home state, Senator Dr. Saraki was called upon by his people to contest for the position of Executive Governor of Kwara State. He was elected and sworn into office in 2003. Based on his performances and achievements witnessed by his people, and in demonstration of their overwhelming support for him, the people of Kwara State re-elected him in 2007 general election for second term in office. As Governor, Dr. Saraki garnered national and international acclaim for his innovative approaches to agriculture, health, education, fiscal policy and environmental reforms. His spirit of team work endeared him to his colleagues where he was appointed as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. In that capacity, he championed a peer review mechanism among the Governors of Nigerian states. He also used the platform to create a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arm of government at the national level. He was the first Nigerian Governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). As a man of the people coupled with his level of achievements in the political arena, he was conferred and turbaned as a nobleman of high rank with a traditional title of Turaki of Ilorin Emirate.

Impressed with his good performance during his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State (May 2003 to May 2011), his achievements have been noticed and acknowledged both locally and internationally by private and public institutions across the globe which earned him series of awards including: ‘Governor of the Year’ by This Day Newspapers (2004); ‘Best Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development 2004/05’ by City People, KSNG; Leadership Award in appreciation of commitments and outstanding leadership qualities (2005); Harvard Business School Africa Club Award 2005; Kenneth Kaunda Foundation Best Governor in Africa 2006; Osun State Broadcast Corporation Man of the Year 2006; ‘African Governor of the Year in Agricultural Development’ by African Union Media Group in Pretoria, South Africa; Nigeria Referee Association Grand Patron 2007; This Day Newspaper Best Governor on Food Security 2008; etc.

The Parliamentary Roundtable will also feature parliamentarians from Commonwealth Countries in Africa especially Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

In its 3rd year, The Commonwealth Africa Summit holding alongside the Commonwealth Day Observance Service, is a major event in our calendar. The 2016 Summit will convene Heads of Government, senior ministers, public sector leaders, the private sector, investors and senior executives in one place to discuss trade and investment, business opportunities, security and development – with special emphasis on Africa and will build on the inaugural programme held in March 2014 in London.

The CAS Summit is designed to provide a space for high level dialogue between Business and Government leaders from Commonwealth countries from Africa and their counterparts from other parts of the globe. The summit will also provide a platform for Commonwealth nations from Africa to showcase investment opportunities to a wider business community while learning best practices on securing their homeland and borderlines.