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The President of Rwanda, United Kingdom's Prime Minister and Commonwealth Secretary-General

Boris Johnson says Commonwealth represents ‘very best of humanity’

26 September 2019

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister has described the Commonwealth as an “extraordinary institution” which tackles many of the world’s biggest problems.

Speaking at a Commonwealth reception he hosted alongside Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Boris Johnson said the organisation was a leader in global policies and added that the Commonwealth family “represents the very best of humanity”.

He highlighted the Commonwealth’s fight against climate change and efforts to ensure every girl receives 12 years of quality education as two examples of “vibrant, dynamic work”.

Mr Kagame responded:  “Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I commend your focus on education, particularly girls’ education. This issue is close to our hearts in Rwanda. We look forward to working with you, and like-minded leaders, to ensure equality in education. Rwanda is proud to belong to the Commonwealth of Nations.

“The consensus around the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values, shows that cooperation remains the best way to build a better and more equal world, for everybody.

“I thank you once again, and look forward to welcoming you in Rwanda.”

The event was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The UK is the current Commonwealth chair-in-office but will pass the baton to Rwanda when the country hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali in June next year.

Speaking on the day Rwanda was announced as CHOGM host, Mr Johnson expressed his “overwhelming excitement” at visiting the country for the first time, and praised the president for leading the way in banning plastics.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland had earlier told delegates: “When I visited Kigali in April and only earlier this month, I was extremely impressed by Rwanda’s readiness and their commitment to ensuring a most successful CHOGM for all 53 member countries.

“There is, already a palpable CHOGM buzz in the air.”

Visit Rwanda’s CHOGM website