34 countries, including India, confirm presence at Commonwealth Summit in Rwanda

New DelhiWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Mar 18, 2022, 03:33 PM IST


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 The key focus areas at the summit will be governance and rule of law, sustainability (economy and environment), health, technology & innovation and youth

Thirty-four countries, including India, have confirmed their presence at the Commonwealth Summit that will take place in Rwanda later this year.

The CHOGM or Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting has been scheduled to start in the third week of June with President of Rwanda Paul Kagame being the host of the summit.

The Commonwealth is a group of 54 nations which were once part of the British Empire and are connected to each other on the historic ties.

Rwanda's High Commissioner to India Mukangira Jacqueline earlier this week said, “The commonwealth family gives an opportunity to Rwanda to share its knowledge and experience with other member states. CHOGM 2022 is a special occasion for Rwanda as host and incoming chair in the office.”

 The key focus areas at the summit will be governance and rule of law, sustainability (economy and environment), health, technology & innovation and youth.

CHOGM summit was due to take place in Rwanda's capital Kigali in June 2020 but has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the British High Commission’s celebration of the Commonwealth Day, the high commissioner highlighted, "Rwanda’s COVID-19 response has been swift and robust. Since the vaccination campaign started in late March 2021, over 95per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated in Kigali and 60 per cent across the country."

The official opening ceremony will be held on June 24 at the Kigali Convention Centre, followed by Heads of Governments Retreat is on the next day at Intare Conference Arena.

Welcome dinner is scheduled on June 26, which will be hosted by Rwanda President Paul Kagame and first lady Jeannette Kagame.

Work is on full swing for the summit. Preparatory meetings have taken place and a protocol guide was shared before the Liaison Committee Meeting that took place on February 22.  There are three advance visits organised in March, both physically and virtually.

The last summit of the Commonwealth took place in London in 2018, in which PM Modi had participated. That was the first time that an Indian PM attended such a summit.

Prince Charles had personally visited India to extend an invite to PM Modi for the summit that year. There is no confirmation of PM's participation at the summit this year, but there is an indication that Indian participation could be at a different level.

The UK will be represented by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. For the UK, the group is important in a post-Brexit world, while for India it is the platform to reach out to Africa.

Around 19 members of the group are from African countries. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009 and will be hosting the summit first time.

High Commissioner Jacqueline said, “Although the youngest member of the family, Rwanda’s accession to the Commonwealth in 2009 was an indicator of the appreciation of the progress that Rwanda has made and strides it continues to make towards meeting its development goals, in line with the objectives set out in the Charter of the Commonwealth."