Rwanda joins Commonwealth, despite Francophone history

By Incorrect Author 30 November 2009

Rwanda has become the 54th member of the Commonwealth (few want to call it the “British” Commonwealth anymore, but that’s another story). It was admitted at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, in recognition of the country’s "tremendous progress" over the last 15 years. Along with former Portuguese colony Mozambique, the former German and Belgian territory (which also has close dealings with France), is the second country to be admitted without a British colonial past. But Rwandans seem eager to seize the economic, political and cultural opportunities offered by membership of the group. Earlier a Commonwealth rights initiative urged Rwanda to tackle a lack of political freedoms, corruption and harassment of journalists before it was admitted. The country is struggling to shake off the 15-year hangover of its 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed. Perhaps being a member of the Commonwealth will help it achieve this goal. Read more: BBC, The New York Times


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