The flag of Togo was raised for the first time at the Commonwealth Headquarters in London, formally marking the country’s entry into the 56-member association.
As the tradition goes, a special flag-raising ceremony was held today in the presence of the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Dr Arjoon Suddhoo, and the President of the Togolese Republic, H.E. Faure Gnassingbé. They were joined by guests including high commissioners, senior government officials, the Togolese diaspora, and the media.
In remarks welcoming Togo to the association, the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General said:
“Togo’s journey into the Commonwealth has been a long time in the making. We walked the journey for many years, as the Commonwealth provided guidance to Togo’s efforts and commitments to embody the values of the Commonwealth Charter.
“Togo has shown commitment to meeting institutional and governance reforms. The Government of Togo has demonstrated clear action in developing its economy and infrastructure; in providing a conducive business climate and stability to attract tourism and investment.
“Today, we welcome [Togo] into our family home, where we work every day to deepen our bonds and abilities to conquer the challenges we face – together. Welcome to a special group of nations which are committed to doing their best to uphold shared values and to help one another.
“Long live Togo and Long Live the Commonwealth!”
President Gnassingbé on his part said:
“It is my great pleasure to address this honourable audience on this highly symbolic occasion and to express the joy and pride of the people of Togo as we gather here today to raise our flag among those of the great Commonwealth of Nations family.
As we celebrate this remarkable milestone, I would like to solemnly ask each one of you to bear witness to Togo’s renewed pledge to the core values of peace, democracy, and development, which are the core values of the family we are joining.
Our stepping into the Commonwealth family is an incredible booster towards progressing together and leaving no one behind.
It is my wish that the new dawn we are setting today will unveil an era of fruitful cooperation, economic growth, sustainable development as well as social and cultural fulfilment for all of us.”
The flag of Togo was then ceremoniously raised on the roof of Marlborough House to the tune of Togo’s national anthem with guests looking on in awe.
By joining the Commonwealth, Togo’s Embassy in London now officially becomes a High Commission. To mark the occasion, a plaque commemorating the move was unveiled.
As an institution uniting 2.5 billion people from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, the Commonwealth is unique. Membership to the Commonwealth means joining a community of mutually supportive independent and sovereign states, aided by more than 80 accredited organisations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Commonwealth Education Trust, that bring their expertise and the strength of their networks to support all our member countries in their development and aspirational goals.
Members can also access a variety of training and technical assistance resources and benefit from more than 50 strategic partnerships with renowned organisations such as the United Nations, the African Development Bank, and the World Trade Organization, to create the conditions for people across the Commonwealth to flourish.
Togo will now also be able to take part in major Commonwealth summits and ministerials which bring together government leaders, from developed and developing nations, to help amplify collective action on global challenges.
- Angela Kolongo Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
- T: +44 7587 881503 | E-mail
- During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, leaders accepted applications by Gabon and Togo to join the Commonwealth, becoming its 55th and 56th members, respectively. Neither country has an historic association with the Commonwealth, with both gaining independence from France in the 1960s.
- The eligibility criteria for Commonwealth membership, amongst other things, state that an applicant country should demonstrate commitment to democracy and democratic processes, including free and fair elections and representative legislatures; the rule of law and independence of the judiciary; good governance, including a well-trained public service and transparent public accounts; and protection of human rights, freedom of expression, and equality of opportunity.
- Rwanda was the last country to join the Commonwealth, in 2009.
- Gabon, also a new Commonwealth member, had their official flag-raising ceremony earlier this week.