On the 7th of May 2021, the president of Rwanda – Paul Kagame and the commonwealth secretary-general, The Rf Hon Patricia Scotland, announced the postponement of CHOGM that was set to be held in Rwanda this year.
Initially, CHOGM in Kigali – Rwanda was set to be held last year (2020 in June) but due to the unforeseen out-break of covid-19 pandemic it was shifted from 2020 to 2021 in June. Meanwhile, that hasn’t materialized as the pandemic is still rampant, hence causing to another postponement till when the deadly pandemic slows down.
In an official press release that was publicly revealed last week, on 7th May 2021, His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, announced the postponement of CHOGM 2021 as a result of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The press release still read that: Having reviewed all available evidence and risk assessments including with the World Health Organization (WHO) and their risk assessment tool, and after close consultation between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Member States, the decision was made to postpone the CHOGM in Kigali for a second time.
Speaking on the postponement, President Kagame said: “The decision to postpone CHOGM for a second time has not been taken lightly. The health and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens at this critical time must take precedence. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM at the appropriate time.”
Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC said: “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a hugely damaging impact on our member countries, many of whom continue to face huge losses to lives and livelihoods. And while it is with deep disappointment and regret that we cannot bring Commonwealth leaders together at this time to discuss many of these critical issues, we must be mindful of the huge risks large meetings pose to all.
She further continued: “I want to thank the Government and people of Rwanda for their professionalism, support, patience and their impeccable readiness to hold CHOGM. And I want to thank all our member countries and, in particular, the United Kingdom as our Chair-in-Office and India, who have suffered so grievously in these trying times. I look forward warmly to a time when we can be reunited with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in Rwanda when the conditions allow for us to do so safely and securely.”
CHOGM is customarily held every two years and is the Commonwealth’s highest consultative and policy-making gathering. Commonwealth leaders selected Rwanda as host for their next summit when they met in London in 2018.
CHOGM and Rwanda Tourism Industry:
In hosting the CHOGM, this is a large opportunity for the Rwanda tourism sector to be boosted. As small as it is, the ‘Land of a thousand hills’ – Rwanda is filled with so many mesmerizing attractions, with the major draw-card being the endangered mountain gorilla. Mountain gorilla population in the world is really thin on the ground – with the estimated number of mountain gorillas being just 1000 mountain gorillas in the entire world.
Few years back, mountain gorillas were surely on the verge of extinction but thanks to Dian Fossey and so many other researchers and conservationists who fought hardly to preserve the lives of these precious apes. Fortunately Rwanda is one of the most recommended countries for mountain gorilla safaris, and it is one of the only three countries in the world where these beautiful primates (mountain gorillas) still thrive.
Besides the eye catching mountain gorillas, Rwanda still comprises of so many other attractions that tourists can gaze at such as the famous ‘big five of Africa’ (lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinos), chimpanzees, the 1994 genocide memorial sites, the golden monkeys and so many other wildlife and birdlife.