By Maureen Chukwura
Rwanda will, in June 2022, host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM22) in its 26th edition. The bi-annual meeting provides a platform for leaders of the 54 member states to explore how they could pool their resources and innovations to transform joint challenges into exalting opportunities.
The event officially opens on the 24th of June in Kigali after two postponements, in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHOGM22 is significant, being the first time that a member State without historical ties with the United Kingdom is hosting the meeting.
Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009 with a pledge to strengthen shared values and aspirations with opportunities for enhancing cooperation and mutual prosperity. The theme of the June high-level meeting: “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating and Transforming,” could not have been more apt given the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has underscored the interconnectedness of the international community and the imperative for multilateral cooperation and partnerships.
Discussions during the meeting will focus on these sub-themes: Sustainability (economy and environment); Health; Technology and Innovation; Youth; Governance and the Rule of Law, which expands beyond the concerns of the commonwealth family and considers the connectivity with broader global challenges.
Four pre-summit forums will feature representations by critical stakeholders of the Commonwealth populace. A Youth Forum (19 – 21 June): – will provide young persons with a platform and a voice for shaping their future; the Women’s Forum (20 – 21 June): – will address gender equality/women’s rights advocacy and their direct contribution to development, while the People’s Forum (21-22 June): -will bring together civic voices from around the world to debate key global development issues facing Commonwealth people.
Equally important will be the Business Forum (21-23 June), a unique gathering of business leaders from developed and emerging markets to promote trade and investment.
This summit is an ample opportunity for citizens of the Commonwealth, particularly in Africa, to leverage the level political playing field to contribute to shaping global opinions more effectively.
Rwanda – which managed to surmount the negative impact of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis to achieve significant development breakthroughs – will certainly use the occasion of the CHOGM22 to share the experiences of its socio-economic transformation and offer participants its cultural and lucrative tourism potentials.
As is customary, at the summit, Rwanda will be taking over from United Kingdom as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth for the next two months. This will enable Kigali to contribute even more towards consolidating the organization’s shared values and aspirations of a fairer, more secure, sustainable, and prosperous future for the organization and its people.
Meanwhile, preparations are in top gear for a safe, seamless and productive CHOGOM22, including adequate protective measures to ensure that COVID-19 induced threats are contained. The country-wide vaccination is one illustration among other safeguards undertaken.
Also, preparatory meetings have been ongoing at various levels, including by the Liaison Committee for the finalization of logistics and protocol guidelines.
Advance visits to Rwanda by the Commonwealth member state have also been ongoing to assess the country’s readiness for the event. By and large, CHOGOM22 promises to be a win-win opportunity for the Commonwealth as an organization and Rwanda as a history-making host.
-Chukwura, Communications Officer, Rwanda High Commission in Nigeria