Streets of Samoa

Samoa : History

Samoa is a small island country in the central South Pacific Ocean. It is made up of an archipelago of 9 islands, 4 of which are inhabited. The 2 largest islands are Savai’i and Upolu. Samoa sits about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. The country originated from volcanic activity. It is mountainous, with many lakes and rivers.

Key facts

  • Region: Pacific
  • Population: 196,000 (2018) 
  • Area: 2,800 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Apia
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1970, following administration by New Zealand 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 13 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Samoa 

Elections support 

The Commonwealth Election Professionals Initiative helped staff from Samoa’s electoral management body (EMB) learn about upholding independence, elections observation and voter education. They also built skills in encouraging equality between women and men in elections. 

Human rights 

In February and June 2018, the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva helped Samoa engage with UN organisations.  

The Secretariat helped Samoa build skills to improve its participation in the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. 

The Secretariat helped national human rights institutions including the Ombudsman of Samoa to carry out work such as reporting on family violence. 

Drafting laws 

The Secretariat worked with Samoa to build skills to write and reform legislation. 


The Commonwealth’s Hub and Spokes Programme helped Samoa learn about trade in services, intellectual property rights and competition. The country passed laws on competition and consumer protection as a result. 

Natural resources 

The Secretariat worked with Samoa’s government to help it prepare to negotiate with the International Seabed Authority (ISA). 

Blue Charter

Samoa is a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and Marine Protected Areas Action Groups.

Connectivity Agenda

Samoa is a member of the Regulatory and Supply Side Connectivity cluster 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.

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