Brunei omar ali saifuddien mosque

Brunei Darussalam : History

Brunei is a small equatorial country on the northern coast of the island of Borneo in South-East Asia. The South China Sea lies to the north. Otherwise, it is bordered to all sides by the Malaysian state of Sarawak, which divides it in two. The coastal plain rises to mountains in the east. Nearly three-quarters of Brunei’s land area is covered by forest. 

Key facts

  • Region: Asia
  • Population: 428,960 (2018) 
  • Area: 5,765 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1984, following independence from Britain 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 7 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Brunei 

Youth 

The Secretariat gave information and training to youth leaders from Brunei on how to combat violent extremism. They learned about using dialogue and social media to help promote peace and bring different communities together. 

In 2018-19, the Secretariat trained 20 senior officials from Brunei on policies to help young people set up and manage businesses. 

Legislation 

The Secretariat gave Brunei guidelines, tools, model laws and regulations to help strengthen its legislation and methods for stopping corruption. 

It also helped Brunei check that its domestic laws are able to control the illegal trade and spread of weapons such as firearms. 

Trade 

The Secretariat helped Brunei improve its skills to negotiate multilateral and regional trade agreements. 

Environment 

In August 2018, Brunei hosted the Commonwealth Third Country Training Programme. Participants received training and took part in fieldwork and activities on environmental issues. They agreed actions on plastic pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Natural resources 

Brunei’s prosperity depends on its resources of petroleum, natural gas and timber. The country’s wealth means that the government is able to provide free medical services and free education through to university level. Bruneians pay no income tax. 

Low oil prices since 2013 have led to budget deficits and economic growth has started to weaken.  

Connectivity Agenda

Brunei is a member of the Physical and Digital Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

Brunei in the Commonwealth 

Brunei awards scholarships for doctoral study to citizens Commonwealth countries under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan. 

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