By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Patricia Scotland Commonwealth Secretary-General has said the all is set for the Commonwealth Heads of States and Government’s Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali’s capital city of Rwanda and she expected it to be an avenue to discuss positive creative solutions to help members quickly meet sustainable development goals.
Scotland was in Rwanda for a three day visit where she met top Government officials and assessed the readiness of the country to host CHOGM meet come June 2021.
Rwanda was initially chosen to host the bi-annual meeting in June 2020 but was unexpectedly postponed as the world witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted almost everything including movements.
It was decided that the meeting should still take place in Rwanda in June and according to Scotland nothing should now prevent the meeting from happening.
“We are certainly committed to having CHOGAM right here in Kigali in June,” he said in a televised interview on a public Broadcaster on Saturday tonight stressing that the previous postponement was inevitable as the pandemic was spreading allover and so faster.
She said that Rwanda was ready to host the meeting and works to ensure the readiness were ongoing with new infrastructures being constructed for the meeting.
“The CHOGM task force is monitoring, hundred percent. I don’t think we have ever seen a country as ready, prepared, and hopeful as we have seen this time in Rwanda,” she said
Towards a successful meeting
According to Scotland, having the meeting live and face to face is a good opportunity to come up with positive solutions that would help the ‘Common Wealth Member States quickly achieve sustainable development goals,’
“I think if we have a face to face meeting which brings our 54 countries together from all the five corners of the world, if we focus on what we need collectively to resent the agenda which should take our collective strengths and our energy and our genius to meet the challenges,” she added.
“ I hope that what will come out from Kigali will be a set of actions that will help us more quickly get there, so it is going to be implementation, implementation, implementation, so why can’t we walk the talk?” she noted.
The theme for CHOGM 2021 is “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.” According to officials.
“I think that as a Common Wealth of 2.4 billion people and 60 per cent of the youth which are under the age of 30, we have the opportunity to come up with positive creative solutions which will help us to meet our sustainable development goals,” she said.
Such challenges, she said should be economic challenges, climatic challenges as well as challenges which have been in relation to member states citizens’ health.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries. Representing a third of the world it is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.
Leaders of the Commonwealth countries meet every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Rwanda will be the second country to host the meeting after it was held in Kampala Uganda in 2007, according to Scotland.
She said that Kigali will be hosting the meeting at a better time as the African Continent has launched Continental Free Trade Area adding that the meeting will be a good opportunity to discuss how to boost trade among the Common Wealth members states as well.
The CHOGM meeting, Scotland said will cover other areas such as climate change mitigation, gender empowerment, education, trade, health among others.
Officials in Rwanda have expressed readiness to host the high-level meeting that is set to start on June 21, 2021.
The country has put in more efforts to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic is fought with all means and it launched the countrywide vaccination drive early last week with thousands having received their jabs.