KIGALI - Whether Rwanda will join the Commonwealth or not now depends entirely on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as the country finalises all the key steps required by the grouping.
According to Foreign Affairs Minister, Rosemary Museminali, Rwanda is fast tracking the process ahead of the November meeting to be held in Trinidad & Tobago and is set to complete the formal four steps of the admission process.
“We have so far gone through the necessary steps. The informal assessment was done by the group. Consultations with member states were also done as well as the third step where the President is required to write a formal application expressing the interest to join the group,” Museminali said in an interview with The New Times.
Museminali who has been on a diplomatic drive within the member states of the grouping said the bid is on track and the process should end well ahead of the Port of Spain meeting.
“The only formal part remaining is to have both chambers of parliament endorse the application as evidence that the public is backing the bid.
We have had consultations with the MP’s and there is not much work left,” Museminali said.
Museminali, added that lobbying between member states has paid off as different countries have expressed their support for Rwanda’s bid to join the elite group of 53.
Prominent among the countries that have come out publicly to back Rwanda are; the United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda, India, South-Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Singapore and the CHOGM hosts Trinidad & Tobago.
East African states of Kenya and Tanzania have also expressed their willingness to support the bid.
Despite Rwanda’s Francophone ties, the nation applied to join the grouping in 2003.
The Commonwealth accounts for over 40 percent of the world trade making it influential in global trade.
Member countries handle trade worth $2.8 trillion annually and with foreign direct investment outflows of $100 billion, which account for more than 20 per cent of international trade and investment.
The other states that have applied to join the grouping are Algeria, Yemen, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.