The Commonwealth, comprising 53 member states and spanning nearly every continent, has an enduring shared history, culture and language. The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people, and counts within its family some of the world’s richest, largest, smallest, poorest and most vulnerable countries.
Despite the Commonwealth’s strong commitment to supporting sustainable economic development, shared prosperity remains a major challenge. Nearly 1 in 5 people in the Commonwealth live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. This is almost twice the global average according to the United Nations, so people in the Commonwealth are twice as likely to live in extreme poverty as those in non-Commonwealth countries.
This report, undertaken jointly by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty and the Overseas Development Institute, is the result of a joint inquiry to examine the potential of the Commonwealth family to help its developing country members trade out of poverty. This report considers the arguments and evidence for the Commonwealth to adopt an ambitious values-led agenda on trade and investment, focused on harnessing the potential of trade and investment to lift its poorest citizens, and most vulnerable small economies, out of poverty, sets out five priority areas on which such an agenda could focus and, finally, sets out a roadmap for the way forward.