More than 1,400 business leaders and CEOs from 65 countries gathered in Ankara for the 2015 Business-20 (B20) Conference from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th of September. The three-day event marked the completion of the development of this year’s B20 recommendations and provided an opportunity for the business community to share business priorities with Turkish President Erdoğan for further transmission to the G20 ahead of the Leaders’ Summit in Antalya in November.
During his opening remarks President Erdoğan thanked B20 Turkey Chair Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu-who also serves on the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Executive Board Member-for hosting an effective B20 process. In accepting this years’ priority list of B20 recommendations he said, “The B20 is the most inclusive of all G20 engagement groups and the regional consultations and events organized by B20 Turkey have made the B20 the most important business platform in the world,” said President Erdoğan. “Turkey will support the B20 recommendations at the G20 Summit in November”.
ICC Chairman Terry McGraw led a delegation of members of the ICC G20 Advisory Group to Ankara for discussions with business and government representatives. ICC Leadership actively participated in the conference, with McGraw, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich and ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group Chairman, and Chairman of SEB, Marcus Wallenberg Chairman delivering business priorities to the opening plenary sessions.
“Growth and job creation should remain at the top of the G20’s priorities”, said McGraw. “These objectives can be achieved by promoting structural reform within G20 economies; by liberalizing trade and investment; by ensuring well-regulated, growth-enhancing financial markets; and by creating a healthy environment for innovation and new businesses.”
Addressing the G20’s past performance and growing demands for global governance, Wallenberg suggested that the G20 focus its attention on implementation of previously agreed reforms and commitments before introducing new areas of work.
The B20 is the most inclusive of all G20 engagement groups and the regional consultations and events organized by B20 Turkey have made the B20 the most important business platform in the world.
“The G20 should focus on harnessing its political capital on dealing with persistent global problems which cannot be resolved elsewhere. But we also need specific, tangible, and realistic outcomes. So, as the Turkish Presidency has rightly emphasized, the G20 also needs to focus on implementing previously agreed recommendations,” he said. To illustrate his point Wallenberg highlighted the as a tool to monitor the G20’s performance on implementing B20 recommendations.
A highlight of the B20 Conference was the official introduction of the World SME Forum (WSF) as a mechanism for implementing the many SME recommendations developed under B20 Turkey. The WSF is a new global platform co-founded by ICC and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) to amplify the voice of SMEs and unlock their potential to stabilize the economy and stimulate economic growth, trade and employment.
“Never before has the B20 taken such a robust approach to correcting the imbalances in the SME sector”, said Danilovich during a special plenary session on the WSF. “I would like to thank the Turkish government and B20 Turkey for championing economic inclusiveness and support to the SME sector as key priorities in 2015.”
The WSF is one of the Turkish government’s top priorities this year and was highlighted throughout the Conference. “I am proud that we have launched the World SME Forum in Istanbul with the International Chamber of Commerce and we are grateful for their cooperation”, said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during his keynote address.
The second day of the Conference was organized around several parallel sessions focused on the six B20 Turkey taskforces and other international business priorities. Members of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group were among the leading speakers in many of the issue specific policy sessions, including Trade, Infrastructure, Employment, Financing Growth, Energy and Bio-economy.
Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca Cola Company, chaired the second meeting of the B20 International Business Advisory Council (IBAC) on 4 September. ICC Secretary General John Danilovich, invited to serve as IBAC Secretariat, reaffirmed ICC’s commitment to lead the B20 advocacy efforts.
Danilovich introduced an advocacy plan that will focus on conveying B20 priorities to G20 leaders in the run up to the Summit in Antalya. A number of ICC G20 CEO Advisory group members were present for the meeting, including Harold McGraw III, Chairman Emeritus, McGraw Hill Financial and ICC Chairman, Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman, SEB, Michael Smith, CEO of Australia New Zealand Bank, Arturo Gonzalo, Corporate Director of Institutional Relations, Repsol, Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), Jamal Malaikah, President and CEO, NATPET, Paul Bulcke, CEO, Nestlé and Yogendra Kumar Modi, Chairman and CEO, Great Eastern Energy Corporation.
ICC’s G20 CEO Advisory Group mobilizes worldwide policy-making expertise and solicits priorities and recommendations from companies and business organizations of all sizes and in all regions of the world. The group is composed of some 40 CEOs and business leaders working to ensure that the voice of business is heard by governments, the public and the media before, during and after each Summit.
With over 21 panel sessions and 123 speakers, the Ankara conference was the largest business gathering in the B20’s 6-year history.