What is the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth originally comprised former colonies or dominions of the British Empire but has been expanded to include any country which applies, and which is accepted to join the modern Commonwealth. The last country to join was Rwanda in 2009.
It is today a voluntary association of 54 independent sovereign countries, each having equal status with another.
The Commonwealth comprises 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries 32 of which are small states, including several island nations.
Member governments meet on a regular basis and have shared goals like development, democracy and peace. The values and principles are expressed in the Commonwealth Charter.