By James Tasamba
Togo and Gabon have been admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations, bringing the number of countries in the bloc to 56, an official said on Saturday.
The two historically French-speaking countries were officially admitted to the grouping during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, with the new Rwandan President, Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Admission is based on assessment of several standards such as democratic process, good governance and the rule of law, said Patricia Scotland, the organization’s general secretary.
It was at the end of the consultation meeting of Heads of State and Government that the decision was taken.
The two African countries were never British colonies.
Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey told reporters that the country’s motivation for joining the Commonwealth was to expand its diplomatic, political and economic network.
Gabon’s Foreign Minister Michael Moussa Adamo also said membership would boost the country’s economic diversification while maintaining relations with France.
Gabonese President Ali Bongo believes Commonwealth membership is about modernization.
The process of formal membership of the Central African nation in the Commonwealth began five years ago, while Togo, located in West Africa, began in 2014.
Rwanda became a member of the group in 2009. While the Commonwealth is an association of former British colonies, Rwanda, like Mozambique, which joined in 1995, was never colonized by the British.
Leaders re-engage on coronavirus and climate change
Commonwealth leaders have recommitted to collaborating in efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic which has devastated lives and economies, according to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s final statement.
The Heads of State “decided to continue to work in cooperation with national, regional and international partners to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move towards longer-term control of COVID-19”, he said. declared.
Control efforts would include support for universal, just, timely, equitable, and non-discriminatory access to and distribution of safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics.
They also highlighted the importance of connecting, innovating and transforming to facilitate a full recovery from the pandemic, he said.
On climate change, Heads of State renewed their commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. levels.
They agreed to strengthen the Commonwealth Secretariat to focus on global food, energy and climate insecurities, the statement said.
Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war, the leaders stressed that all countries should seek peaceful resolution of all disputes in accordance with international law.
Held under the theme: “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming”, the meeting of Heads of Government from 54 Commonwealth countries discussed ways in which the bloc could transform societies in contemporary times.
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