No considerable loss over the postponement of CHOGM - Min. Biruta

By Elina Jonas Ruzindaza
On 22 April 2020 at 05:30

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta, has declared that there would be no significant loss caused by the postponement of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that was scheduled to take place in Kigali in June this year.

The decision was announced on Tuesday that the CHOGM meeting would be adjourned to a later date, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to hit the Earth.

Minister Biruta told the RBA that given the current situation around the world, Rwanda found it best to postpone the meeting.

"We consulted with the Commonwealth Secretary and agreed that it was the right thing to do. Other countries were notified first, and then we issued a postponement notice so that all stakeholders could be informed straight away," he said.

He added that Rwanda together with the Commonwealth Secretariat, agreed on a new date, which will be ratified after consulting the 54 member states.

He noted that there were no significant losses that would result over the postponement of the summit.

“It’s a very big meeting that was to be attended by between 5,000 and 7,000 people. It’s such a loss when we look at it in general, but there is no specific loss related to that meeting in particular, it’s an economic loss because it has been devastated in general by this epidemic,” he said.

“While there were some activities that had already started in terms of hosting this meeting such as infrastructure, there were roads that had started to be rehabilitated, places where the meetings would take place, there are some work that had to be done for spacious or organized spaces,” said Minister Biruta

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government [CHOGM] was to provide benefits to various parties in the field of tourism and other activities related to the reception of the conference.

According to RCB Director Nelly Mukazayire, last month, 147 meetings were planned this year, which were to bring Rwanda $88 Million, which is about Rwf83 Billion.
"As it turns out, the epidemic has changed a lot of things, and in our case, there have been about 20 meetings that have been adjourned, which have not been postponed but have been relocated, " she said.

"The meeting was expected to bring in eight million dollars, which is about 10% more than the target we had this year.

CHOGM’s major events are expected to take place at the Kigali Convention Center and Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo, but other meetings will be held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village known as Camp Kigali, Kigali Serena Hotel and Ubumwe Grande Hotel.

The meeting, to be held in June 2020, between June 22-27, was expected to sign a $ 700 million trade agreement. These include construction, sports, and recreation.

It was only in April 2018 that it was decided that Rwanda would host the summit after nine years of membership. It will be the first of its kind in a non-British colonial country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta, has declared that there would be no significant loss caused by the postponement of the 26th CHOGM