KIGALI - The Queen of England, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, who is the head of the Commonwealth, has congratulated Rwanda upon its admission into the grouping that comprises mainly former British colonies.
In a congratulatory message to President Paul Kagame and the people of Rwanda, Queen Elizabeth said that Rwanda has made significant progress in the last 15 years, and the admission to the Commonwealth is reflection of what the Rwandan people have achieved during this period.
“I send the people of Rwanda congratulations on the occasion of their accession to the Commonwealth. Rwanda has made much progress since the terrible events of 1994, and its accession to the Commonwealth is an indication of this.”
“Both Rwanda and the Commonwealth will gain greatly from this new relationship, and I welcome Rwanda as the 54th Member State.” the Queen’s message reads.
Rwanda was unanimously admitted into the Commonwealth as a 54th Member on the 29th of November by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Following an assessment by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Rwanda’s admission merited on grounds of having good democratic processes such as free and fair elections, the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
Rwanda was equally commended for good governance, protection of human rights, freedom of expression and having a transparent system in place.
Rwanda’s was backed by some of the prominent members of the group including Britain, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Trinidad and Tobago.
Rwanda became the second member of the commonwealth without any historical British colonial links after Mozambique.
The Commonwealth accounts for a population of more than two billion and $2.8 trillion in annual trade. Its main focus is promoting trade, education and good governance among its member countries.