Rwanda’s capital Kigali is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which kicked-off on Monday 20 June. The meeting will go on until Saturday 25 June.
Rwanda is hosting the first CHOGM since 2018 when it last took place in London. Kigali was selected to host the following meeting which was scheduled to take place in 2020 but it has since been postponed twice due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CHOGM brings together leaders majorly from Britain former colonies to meet every two years to discuss their common interests. This time around, leaders will be meeting in Kigali to reaffirm their common values and agree actions and policies to improve the lives of their citizens. Key issues to be discussed during the meeting include tackling poverty and climate change, recovery from Covid-19 pandemic, promoting sustainable development, boosting trade, among others.
‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’ is the theme for CHOGM 2022.
Along with the heads of states and other leaders from the Commonwealth, there are many other high-profile individuals attending CHOGM in Kigali. These include the Prince of Wales, Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The Prince will be representing Queen Elizabeth II who is unable to attend the meeting in Kigali. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also attending the meeting in Kigali alongside other leaders.
Meetings to be held
CHOGM 2022 will see a series of meetings held on each day till its completion on Saturday. These were kicked-off by the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) on Sunday which was followed by the Commonwealth Women’s Forum (CWF) on Monday. Others include the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF). The ceremony will also include a series of high-level Ministerial Meetings which will include Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting and the Commonwealth Ministers Meeting on Small States. Others will include First Lady’s event on Unity and Reconciliation and the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting. The ceremony will be climaxed by executive sessions on in its last two days which will include the official CHOGM opening ceremony followed by executive sessions on Friday. Sessions on Saturday, the last day of the ceremony will include Foreign Ministers’ Roundtables with with Civil Society and Associated Organisations, Retreat for Commonwealth Heads of Government, Closing Executive Session, Concluding Press Conference and Meeting of the Reconstituted Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.
Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame officially opened the Commonwealth Women’s Forum on Monday with the theme,“Delivering a Common Future: Transforming Gender Equality.”
“The 2022 Kigali CHOGM Women’s Forum does not just occur in a country that consistently pushes for the emergence and recognition of women in leadership. It occurs in a country where rape was used barely three decades ago as a weapon of war. Today, Rwanda is ranked by the World Economic Forum as the seventh country in the world for closing the gender gap,” she said.
“We, too, can adapt our strategies for accelerated progress, our service provision, our collaboration frameworks, our militancy and advocacy, our education and research, and every tool in the arsenal which will combat gender inequality in order to transform for better the landscape in which we exist.” She added.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland called upon the 54 member states to have a closer cooperation in order to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.
CHOGM 2022 a coup for Rwanda
Hosting CHOGM 2022 is seen as a major success for Rwanda, a country which only obtained admission into the Commonwealth organisation in 2009. The East African nation will be using the ceremony as a platform to enhance herself to the international audience. Rwanda can use CHOGM 2022 to further promote her sectors like trade and tourism by attracting investment and tourists. The country is already investing heavily in tourism through campaigns like Visit Rwanda which has seen thousands of travellers visit the “Land of A Thousand Hills” for amazing experiences like gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.