Crown Agents Foundation
The Crown Agents Foundation is a non-profit making body that owns all the shares of Crown Agents Ltd. It has two roles: it ensures Crown Agents remains committed to international development and it manages the funds that Crown Agents contributes to development activities.
The Foundation’s members are organisations active in the development sector, including NGOs, international companies, professional bodies and public sector organisations. There are 11 permanent members and 18 elected members. Members meet formally once a year at the Foundation’s AGM. The president of the Foundation is HRH the Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO.
Governance of Crown Agents
One of the Foundation’s roles is to oversee the activities and ethos of Crown Agents. This governance role is undertaken by the Foundation Council; a group of 12 individuals that meet every six months to review the work of Crown Agents and ensure it is focussed on making a lasting contribution to countries’ social and economic development.
The Foundation’s development funds
Crown Agents allocates a share of it profits to development activities and the Foundation Council decide on how these funds are used. Funds are currently allocated to training managers from developing countries and to knowledge sharing seminars that contribute to debate and thinking on developmental issues. Since its formation when Crown Agents was privatised in 1997, the Foundation has sponsored 350 students on training courses and run 27 seminars. In the last 5 years Crown Agents has contributed £1.7m to the Foundation’s activities.
Some examples of activities funded by the Foundation
Seminar – the road to Bali WTO negotiations
The Crown Agents Foundation partnered with the Saana Institute to host a seminar on the specific needs of least developed countries from the forthcoming WTO negotiations on trade facilitation. Forty participants from Geneva, development agencies, the private sector and academia discussed developing country concerns and objectives, roles of development partners and the needs of private sector exporters and importers. The conclusions can be downloaded here.
Workshops on regional integration
The Commonwealth Secretariat and The Crown Agents Foundation hosted a number of events in association with African regional economic communities (EAC, SADC and ECOWAS). Each workshop has identified and consolidated best practices in moving towards a thriving regional economic community. The workshops have also considered the impact of a flourishing community on food security and the competitiveness of regional and extra-Africa trade.
Getting it right from the start: extractive revenues workshop
How can West Africa’s governments maximise revenues from the extractive industry to help alleviate poverty and low living standards? That was the question discussed by 40 participants from government agencies, international organisations (the World Bank, International Tax Dialogue, GIZ, AusAID, UNDP and the Revenue Development Foundation) and companies at a workshop hosted by The Crown Agents Foundation in Monrovia.
Symposium – practical solutions to the regional market linkages challenges
The Crown Agents Foundation hosted an agriculture market linkages symposium in Harare, Zimbabwe. Stakeholders within the agriculture and supply chain sectors including government officials, donors, NGOs, the financial sector, academics, suppliers and manufacturers attended. Zimbabwe’s current situation, government policies and economic blueprint for 2013-2018 (Zimbabwe’s move from being a net importer to a net exporter) were among the focal points of the symposium. The importance of the mechanisms between the inputs suppliers, their shareholders and the farmers was raised and a huge amount of knowledge was shared. Practical solutions to the challenges identified were already beginning to emerge.