Rwanda will host the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), signaling an important step for a country which was admitted to the group a dozen years ago.
In a video message released on Tuesday, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced that CHOGM 2020 will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre during the week starting 22 June next year.
This will be the first time since 2007 that the Chogm meet will be returning to the East African Community bloc. Uganda hosted the 20th meeting in Kampala in 2007.
The theme for the meeting is ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, transforming’, a statement from the Rwandan Government reads in part.
According to the statement, five sub-themes have been identified for discussion including: Governance and Rule of Law, ICT and Innovation, Youth, Environment, and Trade.
Next year, the UK will conclude its two-year tenure as Chair-in-Office when Rwanda hosts the CHOGM and assumes the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office until 2022.
The commonwealth, is composed mostly of the United Kingdom and 52 other countries mostly English-speaking former colonies of the United Kingdom.
Africa has the biggest membership of the Commonwealth (19) followed by the Caribbean and Americas (13). In the East African Community, members include Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Leaders from all 53 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend and will discuss ways through which the contemporary Commonwealth can transform societies, in accordance with Commonwealth Charter values of democracy, multilateralism, sustainable development, and empowerment of women and youth.
“It will be a great pleasure to welcome leaders of the Commonwealth when they gather in Kigali,” President Kagame said in the video that accompanied the statement.
“We will work hard to make everybody feel Rwanda is an extension of their home,” he added.
Kagame further noted that, “The distinctive aspect of CHOGM 2020 will be connectivity including what young people can do with technology to create vibrant societies and develop our economies.”
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on her part said that it was going to be a very exciting chance that would enable young people to develop and deploy the skills they need so they can fulfil their potential.
“By connecting, innovating and transforming, the Commonwealth opens up scope for mobilising the talent of people of all ages and backgrounds,” she said
Ms Scotland also observed that the conference will be good a chance for leaders to discuss better policies for the youth.
“I think the youth demographic we have now is a real opportunity. It’s going to be a very exciting chance for us to enable our young people to develop and deploy the skills they need so they can fulfil their potential.
“By connecting, innovating and transforming, the Commonwealth opens up scope for mobilising the talent of people of all ages and backgrounds.”