PARLIAMENT - Members of Parliament from both Chambers yesterday unanimously endorsed Rwanda’s application to join the Commonwealth.
The endorsement came after the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminali, explained to a joint session of MPs and Senators, what Rwanda stands to benefit by joining the bloc.
This is part of the required procedures for admission into the 53 member bloc.
Emphasizing the parliamentary support to the application, MP Pélagie Mukantaganzwa said: “We represent the people, whatever decision we take is the stand of the people we represent, we support Rwanda’s bid to the Commonwealth.”
Senator Valens Munyabagisha remarked that it’s time for Rwandans to make their choice.
“We never chose to be a francophone country, this time we are making our choice, we want to belong to the Commonwealth,” asserted Munyabagisha.
Rwanda is currently fast tracking the process of joining the bloc ahead of the November Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Trinidad & Tobago.
Currently, the Commonwealth has carried out the informal assessment to Rwanda’s joining the group, while consultations with member states have also been completed.
Besides the normal procedures, Museminali said that all the 53 member states of commonwealth are backing Rwanda’s bid.
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.
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 percent of international trade and investment.
The other states that have applied to join the grouping are Algeria, Yemen, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.