The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has welcomed the unanimous election of Louise Mushikiwabo as the new Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), the Union said in a statement.
“He warmly congratulated Mrs Mushikiwabo and noted that her selection is an international recognition of her outstanding qualities and rich experience, as well as of her commitment to multilateral cooperation,” said the statement, released hours after Mushikiwabo’s win was confirmed at the 17th OIF Summit in Yerevan, Armenia.
It added: “The election of Mrs. Mushikiwabo is not only a victory for Rwanda, but for the entire continent.”
“The African Union, at its Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 1-2 July, 2018, unanimously endorsed Ms. Mushikiwabo's candidacy. As a follow-up to this decision, a number of initiatives were taken by the Commission to mobilise the widest possible support for this African candidacy”.
It said Mahamat “is confident that, with the election of Mrs. Mushikiwabo as the OIF Secretary- General, the African Union and La Francophonie will set new milestones in their partnership. The Commission will spare no effort to this end.”
Despite being challenged by incumbent Michaëlle Jean who was seeking another four years in office, Mushikiwabo was unanimously endorsed by Le Francophonie member states.
Mushikiwabo, 57, has been serving as Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister since 2009, having previously served as the Minister for Information for about one year. She is also the Government Spokesperson.
Speaking after her victory, Mushikiwabo thanked the African bloc for presenting her as its single candidate, and the rest of the Francophonie community for backing her candidacy.
While the African Union and France had long voiced their support for Mushikiwabo’s bid, Canada and Quebec, where Jean was a governor-general before clinching the OIF top seat four years ago, rallied behind the Rwandan top diplomat as Francophonie Heads of State and Government started arriving in Yerevan for the summit earlier this week.