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Commonwealth: Seven things you might not know

The Queen in India in 1997Image copyright

Commonwealth leaders are assembly in London. Here are seven things about this membership of countries that you might not know.

1) It’s house to just about one-third of the sector’s inhabitants

About 2.four billion folks – out of seven.four billion globally – are living within the Commonwealth’s 53 nations. And maximum of them are beneath the age of 30.

The largest nation via inhabitants is India, which accounts for approximately half of of the whole. But 31 Commonwealth contributors have a inhabitants of one.five million folks or fewer.

2) Some contributors had been by no means a part of the British Empire

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Rwanda used to be colonised via Germany and Belgium, not the United Kingdom

Rwanda and Mozambique was contributors in 2009 and 1995 respectively, and neither has a British colonial previous or constitutional hyperlink.

The membership has misplaced contributors prior to now. Robert Mugabe took Zimbabwe out in 2003 after its club used to be suspended amid experiences of election rigging.

Pakistan used to be suspended after an army coup in 1999 and used to be re-admitted four-and-a-half years later. And South Africa withdrew in 1961 after it used to be criticised via Commonwealth contributors for its apartheid insurance policies. It was a member once more in 1994.

The ultimate nation to go away used to be the Maldives in 2016.

three) The Queen is head of state in simplest 16 of the nations

Most of the Commonwealth states are republics and 6 – Lesotho, Swaziland, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Samoa and Tonga – have their very own monarch.

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Tonga has its personal King – Tupou VI (centre)

four) It’s somewhat giant

The Commonwealth makes up 1 / 4 of the sector’s land mass.

The massive of the gang is Canada, the sector’s 2d greatest nation. India and Australia are large too. But most of the states are small – just like the Pacific island countries of Nauru, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda within the Caribbean.

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Canada’s large…

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Nauru much less so

five) It modified its title

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The Commonwealth heads of presidency additionally met in London in 1969

The trendy Commonwealth used to be shaped in 1949, after “British” used to be dropped from the title and allegiance to the Crown used to be got rid of from its statute. Only two folks were head of the organisation – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. But it is not a hereditary function, despite the fact that the Prince of Wales is broadly anticipated to take it up when he turns into king.

The founding Commonwealth contributors had been Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom, who shaped a “free association” of impartial nations.

The Commonwealth had no charter till it followed its Charter in 2012, which dedicated contributors to 16 values of democracy, gender equality, sustainable building and world peace and safety.

The Commonwealth has been criticised for being a post-colonial membership and for having little affect. The Gambia introduced its withdrawal in 2013 describing it as a “neo-colonial institution”.

Supporters say the advantages which club brings come with developmental reinforce and co-operation on world targets.

Secretary-general Lady Scotland, stated: “Our member countries have committed to nurture and protect democracy, development and respect for diversity.”

6) The UK nonetheless has the largest Commonwealth financial system… simply

India may just declare primary spot quickly – perhaps as early as this 12 months.

The mixed GDP of the 53 nations is $10tn (£7tn). That’s just about as giant as China’s ($11tn, £7.7tn)) however a way in the back of that of the United States, on $19tn (£13.4tn).

UK exports to Commonwealth nations in 2016 had been more or less the similar as the ones to Germany, accounting for approximately eight.nine% of all UK exports. Imports from the Commonwealth represented about 7.eight% of the United Kingdom’s overall – an identical to the worth of the ones from China.

7) There’s multiple commonwealth

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The Commonwealth of Independent States met lately in Minsk, Belarus

Don’t overlook the International Organisation of La Francophonie – a gaggle of French-speaking nations. And there is the Commonwealth of Independent States, which used to be arrange in 1991 via former contributors of the Soviet Union.

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