Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza, is the new Chair of Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors.
Having been elected unanimously by his fellow Board members, he took up his responsibilities on 1 July 2014.
Mr Nkurunziza succeeds His Excellency Carl Roberts, High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda to the United Kingdom, and will serve in this position for two years.
All 53 Commonwealth member states are represented on the Board of Governors, which meets annually to consider Commonwealth Secretariat work plans and budgets.
Speaking after discussions with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth headquarters in London, Mr Nkurunziza said: “I am profoundly grateful to my fellow Governors for their confidence and for entrusting me and my country with this important responsibility.
I look forward to working with my fellow Governors and the senior management of the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure that the organisation continues to deliver good value to the member states and all our citizens.”
Greeting Mr Nkurunziza on his first day as Chair, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said: “The High Commissioner for Rwanda takes up his duties as Chair of our Board of Governors on the day we open a new chapter at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The structure of our divisions and our staffing arrangements have been reformed.”
Mr Sharma said he felt sure that they would enjoy a warm and productive relationship as they work together to deliver the Secretariat’s strategic plan for advancing democracy, development and respect for diversity in all Commonwealth countries.
He said: “I look forward to working in close and fruitful collaboration with His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza to serve the needs of all our member states in fresh and practical ways, and to achieve impact that will fulfil their high ambitions for the Commonwealth.”
The Secretary-General said that Mr Nkurunziza comes well prepared for the role of Chair, having served as Chair of the Board’s Executive Committee for the past year.
About HE Williams Nkurunziza
Prior to taking up his role in the UK, Mr Nkurunziza served in India, as High Commissioner of Rwanda there, with concurrent accreditations to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka as well as designate-Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Union of Myanmar.
Before joining the diplomatic service, he served as Director General of the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotional Agency (RIEPA) during which time he worked tirelessly to reposition post-genocide Rwanda in the international marketplace as an ideal investment destination and a reliable trading partner.
During this time, he also served on President Paul Kagame’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council.
H.E. Nkurunziza is widely travelled and has attended and or addressed international conferences and seminars in over 50 countries across the world – in the Americas, Europe (including the UK), Africa and Asia, on Rwanda’s socio-econo-political development, investment opportunities and potential for trade partnerships.