Kigali, 28 June 2022 (TDI): Gabon and Togo were admitted to the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda as 55th and 56th members respectively.

The Kigali Summit was expected to occur in 2020 but was twice delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaders in the summit discussed important issues ranging from human security and climate action to increasing trade ties among member states within the week-long summit.

At the closing session, the 54-member bloc of nations accepted the applications of Gabon and Togo following a formal expression of interest by the two countries.

The two Francophone countries got independence from France in the 1960s. Therefore, both Gabon and Togo do not have any historic association with the Commonwealth. Nonetheless, both countries have actively tried to join the bloc of Commonwealth countries.

Furthermore, the countries approved the fulfillment of the membership criteria of the Commonwealth.

The criteria entail a commitment to democratic norms. Such norms include the rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights, transparency, representative legislatures, and a commitment to democracy itself.

The Development of the Commonwealth’s Memberships

The participation of Gabon and Togo expanded the membership of the Commonwealth up to 56 states.

Moreover, Gabon and Togo will benefit from the bloc’s $2 trillion growth projected up to 2030.

Togo’s Foreign Minister, Robert Dussey, emphasized that the country desired to economic, political, and diplomatic network.

Meanwhile, Gabon’s Foreign Minister, Michael Mousa-Adamo, was optimistic about the role that international partners will play in strengthening Gabon’s economy.

According to the Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, the intra-Commonwealth trade will exceed $700.

The grouping has much to offer to these African countries following the slump in national economies due to the pandemic.

Countries not necessarily ex-British colonies can also petition to become parts of the grouping. Gabon and Togo are good examples. In 2009, Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth.

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