Commonwealth signals that it’s not a club of ex-British colonials


The Commonwealth has emerged for its first summit since the pandemic firing on all cylinders. In a manner of speaking.

Surely it must be a deliberate decision for the association of 54 countries to hold its summit in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, the newest Commonwealth member. And one that has no historical ties to the British empire.

It sends a signal. That the Commonwealth is emphatically not a club of ex-British colonials.

That the Commonwealth is a modern body, whose purpose is to discuss issues like trade, climate change and suchlike.

The Commonwealth’s recent membership gains bolster that narrative. Rwanda is not the only new member to be an oddity in the association of former British colonies. So is Mozambique. And Gabon and Togo, both former French colonies, are expected to apply to join the Commonwealth at the Kigali summit. (On a side note, Zimbabwe is one of the few to have left the alliance in a huff and neither reconsidered – like The Gambia, Pakistan and Maldives – nor expressed much anguish at the parting.

That said, the Commonwealth’s utility does rather come into focus when some of its key large members don’t even bother to send their top guns.

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