Prince Charles of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have landed in Kigali for their first-ever trip to Rwanda where they will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), among other engagements.
The summit was to have taken place in June 2020, but was twice postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s our first day at #CHOGM2022, and we’re getting right down to work. I’ve got several meetings and events today – and I’ll report back on all of them here. Stay tuned for updates on the work we’re doing for you, for Canadians, and for people across the Commonwealth, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on social media.
The royal couple was greeted on the tarmac by British High Commissioner Omar Daair and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK Johnston Busingye. Rwanda is one of the few countries Queen Elizabeth II has never visited during her 70-year reign.
The royal couple will attend the gathering on behalf of the Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth. Prince Charles has been chosen as the organization's next leader at the last meeting in London in 2018.
The future King and Queen Consort will also meet President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame and learn about how Rwanda has recovered from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in which up to 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days.
Prince Charles is also to visit a wildlife sanctuary to hear about how local farmers have regenerated their land and boosted their economies. A new partnership to create a Living Lab to restore land, linked to similar schemes he is supporting across the world, will also be announced.
The Prince of Wales will also meet students and beneficiaries of his Prince's Trust International, while Camilla will visit a public library with Mrs. Kagame to highlight the work of Book Aid International, of which she became patron earlier this year, taking on the role from the late Duke of Edinburgh. They will also meet winners of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
Speaking ahead of their visit, Prince Charles said: My wife and I much look forward to meeting Commonwealth leaders and, for the first time, being able to visit Rwanda. Over the years, I have learned a great deal from the ideas, concerns, and aspirations which people across the Commonwealth have so generously shared.
Too many members of the Commonwealth are amongst the world's most climate-vulnerable countries. As two out of three Commonwealth citizens are under the age of 30, there is a pressing need to find opportunities for our young people, the Prince also said.