The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Kigali is expected to be the largest in-person gathering of government businesses and civil society across the Commonwealth since the pandemic. Among those confirmed to attend are Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
BY RIDHIMA SHUKLA
THE COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF Government Meeting (CHOGM) is returning to Africa after almost 15 years. The last time it was held on the continent was in Uganda in 2007. This will be the 25th edition of the biennial conference, and from June 20-25, the world’s political and policy-making glitterati will head to and reunite in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
With its roots going back to the British Empire, the Commonwealth comprises of 54 member countries. To carry on multilateral dialogue between governments, the consultative and policy-making gathering will convene for the week-long conference across six venues in the hilly East African city: at the landmark Kigali Conference Centre (pictured), the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, the Intare Conference Arena as also the Serena Hotel, M Hotel and Kigali Marriott Hotel.
CHOGM was due to have been held in the landlocked nation in June 2020 but was postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the years, in addition to tourism, Rwanda has positioned itself as one of Africa’s leading conference destinations. And the city is gearing up, as evident in the multiple road widening projects being carried out, security procedures being scaled and hospitality offerings amped up to accoodate thousands of delegates gates.
The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincent Biruta, tells FORBES AFRICA: “Rwanda has a track-record of hosting international events and conferences, and we are ready to host CHOGM 2022 in just a few weeks.”
The incoming traffic is expected to boost the country’s hospitality and tourism sector after the last two years lost to the pandemic.
Ariella Kageruka, Acting Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, says: “This will be the first and largest in-person gathering for government businesses and civil society across the Commonwealth since the Covid-19 pandemic. Rwanda’s commendable Covid-19 management measures make it the best choice to host a safe event.
“CHOGM presents an opportunity to showcase Rwanda’s abundant tourism offerings and share the country’s conservation story. We are optimistic that bookings from thousands of guests will boost the tourism and hospitality sector, especially as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The 2022 edition, with the theme Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming, will address some of the most critical issues facing the world today. Apart from the heads of state meetings to discuss Covid recovery, climate change, governance and law, ICT innovation and trade, the conference is also holding various forums for driving engagement among stakeholders.
“We look forward to welcoming delegations from all over the world to Kigali to exchange on the most critical issues facing the world today, and agree on actions that will help us deliver a common future,” adds Biruta.
In attendance will also be investors, entrepreneurs, and startups. Heads of governments from over 25 member countries are expected. Those confirmed to attend also include Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.