Commonwealth meeting finally kicks off in Kigali

Monday June 20 2022

Commonwealth Youth Forum Plenary Session: Reimagining Sustainability in Kigali Rwanda on June 19, 2022. PHOTO | CHOGM 2022


After being twice postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Rwanda is finally hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali this week from June 20th to 26th.

Preceded by several forums, the official opening of CHOGM 2022 takes place on June 24th, followed by the main high-level meetings of Heads of Government on Friday and Saturday.

The youth forum kicked off on Sunday with over 350 young people from across the Commonwealth participating in the three-day gathering under the theme ‘Taking Charge of our Future.’

Read: Is Commonwealth membership still relevant to countries today?

On Monday, Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame officially opened the Commonwealth Women’s Forum themed “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,” Mrs Kagame said, adding that the role played by women in peace building has been the cornerstone of Rwanda’s development.


“...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.

Closer cooperation

For her part, Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, called for closer cooperation among the group of the 54 member states to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.

“This Women’s Forum and this CHOGM is our opportunity to build on our Commonwealth advantage. Our similar systems of democratic governance, of common law, of common language, of compatible institutions, drive progress for which we all hunger and thirst,” Ms Scotland said.

At least 40 Heads of State and government from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean and the Pacific will convene to discuss this year’s theme: “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming”.

Read: Kigali's fun side comes out to play for Chogm visitors

At the end of the meeting, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is expected to take over from UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years.

Read: Choice of Commonwealth secretary-general expected in Kigali