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After Rwanda, now Togo looks to join the Commonwealth

By AFP | Published Thu, July 27th 2017 at 23:31, Updated July 27th 2017 at 23:35 GMT +3
Togo Foreign Minister Robert Dussey. Photo" AFP

In summary

  • Togo began applying for Commonwealth membership in 2014
  • Rwanda joined the economic bloc in 2009

Diplomatic talks and visits by experts are gathering pace in Togo as the former French colony looks to follow another Francophone nation to join the Commonwealth.

Rwanda joined the 52-member bloc in 2009, 14 years after Portuguese-speaking Mozambique became the first member never to have had a past link to Britain.

Togo, which is home to seven million people, first began the process of applying for Commonwealth membership in 2014.

In February and June this year, experts met members of institutions including the constitutional court, the electoral commission, and the human rights body to evaluate Togo's bid. They also met members of political parties, civil society, and women and youth groups to assess democracy and development levels.

Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said after the latest visit: "Togo's bid is on the right track and we are optimistic for the next stage of the process. Togo is a politically stable country where there is peace and democracy.

"Geographically, our country is in a strategic position with enormous assets, including a deep water port... which opens up countries in the hinterland (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali)."

Togo is a member of the Economic Organisation of West African States and the International Organisation of La Francophonie.