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Kamalesh Sharma visits Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia

31 January 2012
Commonwealth Secretary-General holds talks with political and civil society leaders during his trip to Africa

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma held talks with political and civil society leaders during a three-nation trip to Africa last month. The nine-day visit took him to Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia from 21 to 30 January 2012.

Mr Sharma, in Malawi from 21 to 24 January, met and briefed President Bingu wa Mutharika about current developments in the Commonwealth Secretariat following mandates from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which took place in Perth, Australia, in October 2011.

The Secretary-General also met other senior political and civil society leaders in the country where he took the opportunity to discuss current political, economic and social developments and explore the range of support the Commonwealth can mobilise.

During his visit to Rwanda from 24 to 28 January, Mr Sharma met President Paul Kagame. He also attended a graduation ceremony at the National University of Rwanda at Butare on 27 January where he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

The Secretary-General then attended the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28 to 30 January, where he conferred with Commonwealth leaders, and representatives of other international and regional organisations.

Mr Sharma said: “The Africa region, with a Commonwealth membership of 19 countries, is a key focus of our work in strengthening democratic institutions, promoting good governance and sustainable development. I always value these meetings where I update leaders and listen to Commonwealth citizens about what it is we can do to serve them better.”

He added: “The developments we are witnessing on the continent and globally, with citizens demanding more efficient service delivery in the fields of governance, politics and the economy, are a clear indication that we can no longer continue doing things in a ‘business as usual’ basis. This is a challenge to all of us - which we must face squarely and address.”