The President of Rwanda has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Commonwealth, and cited its increasing significance at a time of global uncertainty.
Speaking to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth during a four-day visit to the country, President Paul Kagame said the organisation continued to demonstrate its importance to member states when there is so much political and economic uncertainty around the world.
President Kagame added that the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April would be a crucial platform to discuss the most pressing issues facing leaders across the 52 member states.
President Kagame said, “We are looking forward to joining you for next year’s summit in London. It’s taking place at a time when certain developments are occurring in the world that we can learn from. These are developments that cause suffering for our people. And in the Commonwealth each country can learn from one another and improve.
“The Commonwealth is a family which can be strengthened by each members’ contribution and cooperation. Nothing less. If member states ignore their failings and do not share their lessons that will only weaken the Commonwealth. If we all work together there is no challenge that is insurmountable.”
In addition to discussing the opportunities for Rwanda at next year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Secretary General commended the achievements of its newest member, including on technology, health and gender. In particular, the Secretary General said Rwanda had set the “gold standard” on women’s representation, with 64 percent sitting in the lower house of Rwanda’s national legislature, the largest share of any country in the world.
Secretary-General Scotland went on to discuss the reform agenda of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and how it was pressing ahead in a number of key areas of collaborative working such as economic and social development, climate change and small states.
The Secretary General’s visit has seen her meet with the ministers for Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance, Education, Environment, Gender, Youth, Local Government and Sport, as well as high commissioners and representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank and the Department for International Development.