The flag of Gabon was raised on Monday, October 17 at the Commonwealth Headquarters, for the first time in a ceremony marking the country’s entry into the Commonwealth. With guests including high commissioners and senior government officials, the Gabonese flag was ceremoniously hoisted on the roof of Marlborough House to the tune of Gabon's national anthem. Gabon became the Commonwealth's 55 member on June 25 after approval from Commonwealth leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, led the flag-raising ceremony formally welcoming the Commonwealth’s newest member. The Commonwealth Secretary-General said, at the ceremony, that this is to further strengthen the relationship between the Francophone and Anglophone families across the world. “Together, we breathe new life into our commitment to democracy, the rule of law, freedom, and peace. Strengthened by the spirit of the Gabonese and their thirst for a better world, commitment to partnership and determination to join the Commonwealth’s drive to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris agenda,” she said. President Ondimba, on his part, thanked the commonwealth secretariat, commending their enthusiastic engagement and hard work throughout Gabon’s candidacy. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that from the very first day we felt that we were already members,” he said. “In a world full of uncertainties, mostly created by humanity’s excesses and greed, we believe strongly that the Commonwealth family of nations is a unique and varied community of countries that share common values and whose diversity represents a formidable melting pot of ideas and solutions,” he remarked. Gabon and Togo, both former French colonies, were admitted at the same time as the 55 and 56 members respectively. Rwanda had been the last country to join the Commonwealth since 2009. By joining the Commonwealth, Gabon’s Embassy in London now officially becomes a High Commission, with Aicha Sanni serving as High Commissioner. Gabon will also now be part of big discussions and a mutually supportive community of 56 independent and sovereign states, aided by more than 80 accredited organizations and more than 50 strategic partnerships with organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Health Organization.