Rwanda: Africa Commonwealth Parliamentary Speakers Convene in Rwanda

22 November 2021

The Parliament of Rwanda is set to host the 17th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) - Africa Region, which will focus on, among other topics, retooling Parliaments for effective and efficient oversight.

It will be officially opened on November 24, 2021, at Kigali Convention Centre.

Held under the theme "African Parliaments in the 21st Century," the conference will also focus on topics including the Presiding Officer in a changing Society: Strategies for floor management of radical dissent and minority Government; and the relevance of Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges: Country experiences.

According to a statement from Rwanda Parliament, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa said, "this is a great opportunity for the Parliament of Rwanda and the country, in general, to welcome our esteemed colleagues from African Parliaments, members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association."

"We are certainly looking forward to a highly productive couple of days ahead, discussing with our African counterparts on better ways to address our citizens' needs and contribute to the fulfilment of their aspirations". Speaker added.

Although Parliament, by its nature, is conservative, the Press Release indicated, the destructive impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic has created a new normal.

It is therefore imperative for Parliaments across Africa to modify their methods, rules, and tools to respond to a radical and fast-changing society.

As of Monday, 12 branches [of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)], had confirmed their participation at the 17th CSPOC. They include Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

In addition, Some Nigerian state assemblies and South Africa provincial legislatures will be participating with an observer status.

The meeting comes as the African continent is faced with different pressing issues including the rising hunger and being a net food importer, insecurities, and conflicts in some regions which impair people's welfare.

Some 282 million people went hungry in Africa in 2020, or over 23 percent of the continent's population, according to the 2021 edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on July 2, 2021.

This is compared to or more than 250 million or 19.1 percent of the continent's population which was undernourished in 2019, according to the report of 2020.

In addition, the continent relies on imports of pharmaceuticals and drugs, and electronic devices, and other manufactured goods while it largely exports raw materials only to get smaller revenues.

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