BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Buhari to attend Commonwealth conference on governance, climate change in Rwanda

...as private sector seeks more favourable policies

President Muhammadu Buhari will lead a Nigerian delegation to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will take place in Kigali, Rwanda from 20th June, 2022.

The CHOGM 22 which has the theme “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming” is expected to serve as a wide platform to debate and make game changing decisions on issues of common interest clustered in sub themes including: governance and rule of law; sustainability along the nexus between economy and the environment; health; technology and innovation; and youth.

Stanislas Kamanzi, high commissioner of Rwanda to Nigeria, speaking at a Pre-CHOGM networking event in Abuja on Friday, said, ” It is my singular honour to express appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria and more particularly, to President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring President Paul Kagame ‘s invitation and for the important delegation he will be leading to Kigali.

He informed us that the official opening ceremony is set for the 24th June. There will be a heads of government retreat on 25th June, as well as a business forum, youth and women forum, he added.

According to the Ambassador, Rwanda had been ready to host this high-profile global event a bit more than two years ago, if it hadn’t been for the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Countdown has indeed started, as we are now less than two weeks before the Commonwealth Nations rally in Kigali-Rwanda for CHOGM 22,” Kamanzi said.

“The time has come now, and Rwanda and her People are poised to host one of the most high-level global gatherings, the eminent leaders and their delegations, who will be in attendance. Everything has been carefully set up to ensure a memorable stay and a conducive environment for smooth and successful deliberations.

Read also: France, other European countries want more gas from Nigeria – French Ambassador

“Rwanda will be over the next two years assuming the Chair in Office of our Organisation and in that capacity, our Country will endeavour to take the lead in the necessary engagements to deepen the reflections from CHOGM22, and to implement agreed upon decisions with a particular focus on harnessing quick wins in the areas of climate change, global health and trade inside the commonwealth and beyond.

“Rwanda is with least doubt that our shared values will keep guiding us as we work collaboratively to make significant strides in the socio-economic transformation beneficial to the Commonwealth community,” he further said.

In her remarks, Catriona Laing, the British high commissioner to Nigeria said the UK is looking forward to working with Rwanda as the incoming chair and the rest of the commonwealth family to maintain momentum of the important issues.

The envoy noted that the UK has been the Commonwealth chairing office since 2018, and is delighted to hand the chair to Rwanda in the next few weeks. She added, “As chair, the UK worked with our Commonwealth partners, we have had three main objectives during our time. First, to champion human rights, secondly to boost intra common wealth trade and thirdly to support climate action particularly in the most vulnerable member states.

“Much has changed since the UK hosted CHOGM in 2018, the World has been sharpened by the unprecedented pandemic and more recently by Russia invasion in Ukraine. Both of these events have impacted significantly on the global economy and the commonwealth nations. At this time, Commonwealth nations need to come together, stand up for our shared values as enshrined.”

Somadina Anene, vice president of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in his goodwill message reiterated that the Commonwealth, which is all about promoting the economic interest of member countries, will be more successful if the interest of the private sector is considered.

According to him, “If business are not thriving, the member countries would not succeed in achieving their mandate. So as we gather in Kigali this year, I want to urge the Heads of State to consider more than ever, the impact of these policies on the organised private sector.”

“What ever they do, or decisions they take , they should consider how it will affect private organisations that are in business . In Nigeria for example we know that the govenrnent cannot provide jobs for everybody, so we know that the private sector is always handy to augment governments efforts in providing job, infrastructure and other basic amenities,” he argued.

Nasiru Aminu, a representative of the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama assured that preparations are in top gear to ensure that Nigeria has a successful participation at CHOGM. He said both the public and private sector have been mobilised and fully ready to participate in the event.

CHOGM is a biennial event which holds every two years and is the Commonwealth’s highest consultative and policy-making gathering. Nigeria hosted CHOGM in Abuja in 2003.

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