Posted on June 27, 2022

Global Britain: West African Countries Togo and Gabon Join Commonwealth of Nations

Agence France-Presse, June 26, 2022

The 54-nation group of mostly former British colonies accepted Togo and Gabon’s application for membership on the final day of its leadership summit in Rwanda.

“We have admitted Gabon and Togo as new members, and we all welcome them to the Commonwealth family,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said at the closing press conference.

The French-speaking West African states are the first new members to join the Commonwealth since Rwanda in 2009.

Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said membership opened the door to 2.5 billion consumers in the Commonwealth realm, offered new education opportunities, and tapped a “craze” for English among his countrymen.

“Togo’s membership is motivated by the desire to expand its diplomatic, political, and economic network… as well as to get closer to the English-speaking world,” he told AFP.

It also allowed the small and developing nation of 8.5 million to redefine bilateral relations with the UK outside the European Union in the aftermath of Brexit, he added.

Francophone states have also sought Commonwealth membership in recent years to pivot away from France, analysts said.

Togolese political scientist Mohamed Madi Djabakate said the move would prove popular as French influence in Togo was often blamed for its economic woes.

“Togo joining the Commonwealth is better for many people than sharing the French language and culture, which at the end of the day has not promoted development,” he told AFP.