On Thursday, June 23, President Paul Kagame hosted a state banquet for foreign leaders who are in the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
During the banquet, Kagame thanked all the special guests who had traveled to enrich the deliberations of CHOGM, which had been postponed for two consecutive years, due to Covid-19.
“It’s a pleasure to see you all here and the reason is because after planning this dinner for over four years, I’m starting to wonder if you’ll ever come,” he told the guests.
“We have lived a lot since 2020 in both our countries and regions and the Commonwealth as a whole. The Covid-19 pandemic was a terrible moment in history that once again showed us the value of cooperation and community.”
“We cannot thrive without working together,” the president added.
He thanked the Commonwealth leaders for the trust they placed in Rwanda to serve as host to the Commonwealth family and as the new head of the office.
“Your presence and participation shows that the Commonwealth has a useful role to play in shaping the global agenda,” Kagame said.
Four forums, namely the Commonwealth Youth Forum, the Women’s Forum, the People’s Forum and the Business Forum, preceded the High Level Meeting of Heads of Government which will officially open on Friday 25 June.
The Head of State admitted, in particular, Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, and added: “We can agree that football has a unique ability to bring people together, no doubt. So does cricket. Through football, we can communicate and understand each of us from any place “.
Kagame added that the Commonwealth aligns well with what Infantino emphasized during his intervention earlier in the day, on the importance of protecting national teams and the capabilities of players so that they can also thrive at home.
He had another special guest, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, for his country’s deep ties with the Commonwealth.
“Under his leadership, he is at the forefront of finding solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of the moment, from energy security to humanitarian response in the Middle East and the global war against corruption,” Kagame said.
“I could not have thought of a better person to invite as a very special guest of the Commonwealth.”