Togo and Gabon join the Commonwealth during

Rwanda’s capital Kigali is hosting a meeting of the Commonwealth’s Prime Minister this week. A legacy of British colonization and led by the Queen of England, the “Community of Nations” brings together 54 countries, including 19 African countries. It will be expanded with the entry on Friday, June 24 by two African states, Gabon and Togo. These two French-speaking countries are therefore joining the English-speaking international organization, after years of effort.

If Togo was characterized by British colonization, Gabon has no historical connection to the Commonwealth. But the two countries are trying to join at the English club in a decade – Gabonese President Ali Bongo has even tried for years to impose the teaching of English from primary school.

The model for Rwanda, which has experienced strong economic growth since joining the Commonwealth in 2009, is in everyone’s minds. Integrating this English-speaking community of 2.5 billion inhabitants does not constitute a commercial advantage as such, but attracts new investors.

It is also for the authorities in Libreville and Lomé, who have long been criticized for their authoritarian power, a political recognition – the Commonwealth has carried out several missions on the ground to observe in particular the development of the institutions.

Although Gabon and Togo confirm theirs belonging to the Francophonie, their entry into the commonwealth is a promise of more diversified diplomatic relations. This at the same time as Gabon’s ties with France have been strained lawsuits about “bad benefits”and that they are getting stronger with the UK, which is also looking for new partners since Brexit.

The Togolese and Gabonese leaders will not be present in Kigali, but they will be invited after the formalization of their country’s membership, at the next Commonwealth meeting.

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