Kigali Convention Centre

Rwanda : History

Rwanda is a densely populated, land-locked country in east-central Africa. Its neighbours are Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is mountainous, with grassy uplands, steep hills and deep valleys. Most people live in rural areas. 

Key facts

  • Region: Africa
  • Population: 12 million (2018) 
  • Area: 26,000 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Kigali 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 2009 [became its 54th member; first country to join the Commonwealth under the revised membership criteria, endorsed at the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala; and one of only two members without historic ties to the United Kingdom. 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 40 out of 49 countries 
  • Rwanda is hosting the 2021 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 

Secretariat support for Rwanda 

Countering violent extremism 

In 2017–18, the Secretariat helped young people in Rwanda learn about dialogue, understanding and tolerance of different faiths as strategies to challenge violent and extremist views. 

Elections support 

The Secretariat has helped young people working in elections management build new skills. Many were able to take on new responsibilities or were promoted as a result. 

Anti-corruption 

With the Secretariat's help, the Rwanda government has strengthened systems and built skills to fight corruption. It has made significant progress on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. 

Access to justice 

The Secretariat has provided books, guidelines, model laws and tools to help build the knowledge of Rwanda’s judges, prosecutors and police. One of the areas of focus is helping women access justice. 

Blue Charter

Rwanda is a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance – the Blue Charter Action Group on tackling marine plastic pollution.

Rwanda and the Commonwealth

Rwanda will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which was to have been held in Kigali in June 2020 but was postponed because of the impact of COVID-19.

The new date agreed with member countries for the 2021 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be the week of 21 June 2021.

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