Africa: Kagame Invites World Leaders for CHOGM 2020

Photo: New Times
Construction works to upgrade roads in the City of Kigali.
25 September 2019

President Paul Kagame on Tuesday officially invited world leaders to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will be hosted in Rwanda in June next year.

In a video message, President Paul Kagame and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced that CHOGM 2020 will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre during the week starting June 22, around the theme 'Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming'.

President Kagame said it will be a great pleasure to welcome leaders of the Commonwealth when they gather in Kigali, highlighting that Rwanda will work hard to make everybody feel Rwanda is an extension of their home.

Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states and all Heads of State for these countries are expected to attend.

Kagame particularly indicated that the unique tenor of the CHOGM 2020 will be the focus on youth empowerment, especially through leveraging technology.

"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," he noted in a video posted on Tuesday evening.

The Head of State made case for the youth and argued that it was important to look at them as an important and productive asset to transform economies across the world.

"There is no way we can see our young people as a liability. For a very clear reason, they are a huge asset and opportunity. Seeing them as liability would be a failure on our part," he noted.

Creating the kind of environment that adds a lot of value to this asset of young people, he added, would be done through the provision of skills, access to technology and having them get involved more in value chains across the world.

According to the statement from the Secretariat, five sub-themes have been identified for discussion: Governance and Rule of Law, ICT & Innovation, Youth, Environment, and Trade.

The Commonwealth is a political organization most of whom are former colonies of Britain.

Rwanda, which joined the grouping in November 2009, is one of only two Commonwealth member countries with no colonial ties with the United Kingdom - the other being Mozambique.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

Building on progress since CHOGM 2018 in London, leaders are expected to discuss ways the contemporary Commonwealth can transform societies, in accordance with Commonwealth Charter values of democracy, multilateralism, sustainable development, and empowerment of women and youth.

Secretary-General Scotland stated: "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."

As well as the meeting of heads of government, the week will include a meeting of foreign ministers and forums to engage young people, civil society, women and the business community.

Earlier this year, Foreign Affairs minister Dr Richard Sezibera had reiterated Rwanda's readiness to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2020.

A package of Rwf8 billion had been set aside to host the summit.


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