The Head of State hosted the State Banquet at Kigali Convention Centre on the evening of Thursday 23rd June 2022.
As he addressed participants, Kagame said that the world went through tough moments where he started wondering if the event planned four years ago would ever come.
“We have lived through a lot since 2020. Each of our countries, our regions and the Commonwealth as a whole. The Covid pandemic was a terrible moment in history which sh0pwed us yet again the value of cooperation and community. We can’t prosper without working together,” he said.
Kagame thanked participants of the event for making the trip to Rwanda.
“It is a huge honour to us. Thank you for staying the course with us, despite all the ups and downs during the pandemic. Above all, I thank you for the trust you have placed in Rwanda, to serve as host of the Commonwealth family of nations and as incoming Chair-in-Office,” he stated.
The President also commended the Commonwealth Secretariat for having worked with Rwanda to organize the meeting and leaders gracing the event as well.
“I want to thank all the special guests who have travelled here to enrich our deliberations. Your presence and participation demonstrate that the Commonwealth has a meaningful role to play, in shaping the global agenda,” he noted.
“I would like two of our special guests in particular. One is Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA. He often says, football is the only sport. Do you believe him? He wants you to believe him. Well, we can agree that football has a unique ability to bring people together. So does cricket,” added Kagame.
Through football, Kagame said, people can communicate and understand each other wherever they are from.
The second guest to whom he extended special thanks is the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Head of State described him as a friend of and partner of so many Commonwealth countries.
“His country has deep historical ties to the Commonwealth. Qatar, under his leadership, is at the forefront of finding solutions to some of the most urgent challenges of the day, from energy, security, to humanitarian response in the Middle East, and the global fight against corruption,” stated Kagame.
The Heads of Government are convening in a meeting this Friday expected to admit two new members of Commonwealth including Togo and Gabon and elect the new Secretary-General.