Rwanda scored a major win Friday with the election of its foreign minister to head a global association of French-speaking nations, as it seeks to boost its influence on the continent and further afield.
A tiny nation with a tumultuous history, whose name has long conjured images of bloody genocide, Rwanda has undergone a dramatic turnaround in recent decades but remains dogged by criticism of rights abuses and lack of political freedoms.
Nevertheless, and despite prioritising English as its language of education a decade ago, the country’s top diplomat, 57-year-old Louise Mushikiwabo, was elected to the head of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).
“This represents a new chapter in relations between Rwanda and France. Rwanda is looking at the bigger picture and wants to have more influence on the global stage by opening up a wider relationship with Francophonie countries,” said Buchanan Ismael, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Rwanda.