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Rwanda to host 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

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For the first time in over a decade, Africa will be hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), this time in Kigali, Rwanda.

Leaders of the Commonwealth countries meet every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Each CHOGM is held in a different member country, with the respective Prime Minister or President as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. Since 1971, a total of 25 meetings have been held, with the most recent held in London in 2018.

It is the fifth time that Africa will be hosting the CHOGM. First in Zimbabwe in 1991, in SouthAfrica in 1999, Nigeria in 2003, and Uganda in 2007.

The 26th CHOGM will be held in Kigali between June 20 and 26, under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.’

While announcing the new date for the meeting, Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, said the East African country is pleased to welcome all delegates and participants to Kigali for a safe and productive CHOGM Rwanda 2022.

“The last two years have made it clear to us that we are more connected than ever before and we must work together to achieve the tangible and sustainable results we want,” he said.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal sovereign states. The Commonwealth is home to 2.5 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty-two of our members are small states, many of which are island nations. Our shared values and principles are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter.

A statement by the Commonwealth secretariat said the Prince of Wales, who has attended CHOGM on five previous occasions – Edinburgh in 1997, Uganda in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2013 (representing the Queen), Malta in 2015, and in the U.K in 2018, will attend the meeting in Kigali.

“As the world works to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and in this Jubilee year, it is more important than ever that the countries of the Commonwealth come together,” the prince was quoted as saying in the statement.

“As a family of some 2.6 billion people from fifty-four nations across six continents, the Commonwealth represents a rich diversity of traditions, experience, and talents that can help to build a more equal, sustainable, and prosperous future.

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Politics

Chad’s PM resigns following disputed election of Deby

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Succes Masra, the opposition leader and prime minister of Chad, announced on Wednesday that he had tendered his resignation following the confirmation of Mahamat Idriss Deby as the winner of the May 6 presidential election.

In an attempt to appease the opposition, Masra, a vigorous opponent of the junta that took control in April 2021, was named prime minister of the transitional government in January, four months before the election.

His candidacy was approved in March to hold the presidential election and restore constitutional order to the nation. The oil-producing nation is the first in a line of coup-hit Sahelian republics in West and Central Africa to try a similar comeback.

Masra declared victory before formally releasing the preliminary results, claiming that election fraud was organized. With 61% of the vote, Deby was declared the winner by Chad’s state election board, and the constitutional council subsequently affirmed his victory.

Masra has accepted the council’s decision and stated that there was no alternative way to challenge the outcomes legally.

“In accordance with the constitution, I have today presented… my resignation and that of the transitional government, which has become irrelevant with the end of the presidential
election of May 6,” Masra said on X on Wednesday.

The family has maintained a tight hold on power since Deby’s father overthrew the government in a coup in the early 1990s, and Deby’s triumph strengthens their hold on power.

Deby, the acting president of Chad, was declared the winner of the May 6 presidential election by the state electoral commission two weeks ago. Provisional results show that Deby received almost 61% of the vote. This statement was issued even though the front-runner of the opposition declared himself the winner.

Chad is the first coup-affected nation in West and Central Africa to have successfully returned to constitutional rule through democratic elections, replacing its previous military regime. On the other hand, certain opposition parties have voiced their displeasure over concerns about electoral meddling.

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Kenya’s Ruto to discuss debt relief with Biden this week

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This week, Kenyan President, William Ruto will be hosted by US President, Joe Biden, for extensive negotiations that are anticipated to cover a range of topics, including Kenya’s debt relief as well as the future of Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other regions.

Kenya has been facing severe cash shortages, and a senior administration official quoted by Reuter said that the US is pressuring major creditors like China, which is Kenya’s largest creditor, to provide debtor nations with assistance.

“We think it’s essential that responsible debtors provide reprieves for countries like Kenya, whether that’s by debt service suspensions or via new grant assistance,” the official said.

Additionally, Washington is pressuring global financial institutions to provide Kenya and other nations with affordable funding. During the state visit this week, the official indicated to anticipate some major joint pronouncements about debt relief “on how countries like Kenya can tackle this problem of debt.”

Washington hopes to counter China’s growing influence in Africa, which is one of the reasons it scheduled the high-profile visit by the Kenyan leader.

By collecting debt service payments and limiting follow-on loans, US Treasury Undersecretary Jay Shambaugh warned China and other nations that made large loans to low-income countries last month against free-riding.

The remarks demonstrated the mounting annoyance of debtor countries and Western countries with Beijing’s procrastination about debt restructuring and the glacial pace of debt relief negotiations.

The executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an ecumenical coalition of advocacy, development, and religious organizations, Eric LeCompte, predicted that the Ruto visit would have a significant impact on American policy on Africa.

“When Ruto speaks, he’s speaking for Africa. And given that President Biden hasn’t had the chance to visit Africa yet, this meeting is not only about Kenya, it’s really about sub-Saharan Africa as a whole,” LeCompte said.

 

During a meeting Ruto called last month, African leaders urged that affluent countries make record commitments to the World Bank’s International Growth Association, a low-interest facility that developing countries rely on to help finance economic growth and combat climate change.

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