I’m sure that Queen Charlotte would have been delighted to welcome you all to her home and to see that today, 250 years later, at least as many girls as boys take part in the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

Over the decades Australia House has become a symbol of the unique relationship between Australia and Britain, through good times and bad, and as vital members of our Commonwealth Family of Nations.

As the world moves towards the adoption of sustainable business models – with those organizations which find ways to eliminate the throwaway society and to use natural resources in a sustainable, “circular” way, being the ones which uncover new opportunities and reduce their risks – companies are going to require ever more robust data on which to base decisions. Who is better placed than accountants to provide them with this information?

Once again, on this visit, I have been struck by the dynamism and energy of this city, and its vital role as the beating cultural and economic heart, not just of Nigeria, but of the whole region – and, indeed, as one of the major urban and economic centres of the Commonwealth.

It was of particular importance to my wife and to myself that we should conclude our Tour of West Africa by coming here to Nigeria, and to experience, however briefly, something of  the extraordinary nature of this immense country. 

It is clear to me that the Commonwealth remains as vital today, as it has ever been.  It brings us together, building bridges between our governments and our people, and offering the practical means to work together for a better future.

I’m delighted to be here today, on my first visit to your beautiful country, to launch The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition for 2019.

We are both tremendously touched by the warmth of the welcome that we have received here today and can only say how much we admire and appreciate its wonderful celebration of your culture.

 I remember quite clearly The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh returning from their own visit to The Gambia in 1961, when I was just thirteen, and telling me how much they had enjoyed their time here.  I remember seeing some of the photographs that my Father had somehow managed to take with his miniature Minox camera and thinking how marvellous it would be to visit myself one day.

Our visit is an opportunity to celebrate the bonds of friendship between the United Kingdom and The Gambia, the myriad connections between our people and the many areas in which our two countries co-operate.