Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will hold talks with political and civil society leaders during a three-nation trip to Africa this month. The nine-day visit will take him to Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia from 21 to 30 January 2012.
Mr Sharma, in Malawi from 21 to 24 January, will meet and brief President Bingu Wa Mutharika about current developments in the organisation following mandates from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which took place in Perth, Australia, in October 2011.
The Secretary-General will also meet other senior political and civil society leaders in the country where he will take the opportunity to discuss current political, economic and social developments and explore the range of support the Commonwealth can mobilise.
During his visit to Rwanda from 24 to 28 January, Mr Sharma will meet President Paul Kagame. He will also attend a graduation ceremony at the National University of Rwanda at Butare on 27 January where he is to be awarded an honorary doctorate.
The Secretary-General will then attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28 to 30 January, during which he expects to confer with Commonwealth leaders, and representatives of other international and regional organisations.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Sharma said: “The Africa region, with a Commonwealth membership of 19 countries, is a key focus of our work in strengthening democratic institutions, promoting good governance and sustainable development. I always value these meetings where I update leaders and listen to Commonwealth citizens about what it is we can do to serve them better.”
He added: “ The developments we are witnessing on the continent and globally, with citizens demanding more efficient service delivery in the fields of governance, politics and the economy, are a clear indication that we can no longer continue doing things in a ‘business as usual’ basis. This is a challenge to all of us—which we must face squarely and address.”