Media Statement

11 March 2019

South Africa observes Commonwealth Day

Today, 11 March 2019, Commonwealth countries, as a symbol of their solidarity, are observing Commonwealth Day under the theme: “A Connected Commonwealth.”

South Africa re-joined the Commonwealth in 1994 and has worked closely with the Commonwealth, contributing politically, financially, and in terms of capacity and expertise to the work of the Organisation.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent member countries, with a diverse membership from developed and developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and the South Pacific.  Members work together to pursue common goals to promote a fairer, prosperous, sustainable and secure future.

This year marks also the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development, which is both inclusive and sustainable. The values and principles around which the 53 member countries and their 2.4 billion people connect, are brought together in the Commonwealth Charter.

The Commonwealth is connected by an active network of more than 80 inter-governmental; civil society and professional organisations; including the Commonwealth Secretariat supporting member states;  the Commonwealth Foundation supporting civil society; and the Commonwealth Games Federation promoting sports development of which South Africa is involved with.

As an example of South Africa’s continued commitment and support to the Commonwealth, South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK) announced on 5 March 2019, that they would jointly lead a Commonwealth initiative to boost digital connectivity amongst member countries. This initiative gives effect to the decision of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London to launch the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda, aimed at increasing intra-Commonwealth trade from $560 million to US$2 trillion dollars by 2030.

The Connectivity Agenda brings together trade and sectoral policymakers, regulators and implementers to explore ways to increase trade and expand investment across the Commonwealth through peer-to-peer learning, capacity building and the promotion of best practices. In this regard, South Africa and the UK have agreed to lead the cluster on digital connectivity, drawing together countries to support inclusive growth and sustainable development in the Commonwealth through digital trade and digitalisation. The inaugural joint meeting of the Digital Connectivity Cluster will take place on 19-20 March 2019 in Durban, South Africa.

Enquiries: Mr Ndivhuwo Mabaya, [email protected] / 083 645 7838


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