Louise Mushikiwabo has promised to dedicate her time and leverage her experience as a diplomat to make Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) a better organisation following her election as its Secretary General, yesterday.
The election took place Friday 12th October during the OIF summit in Yerevan the capital of Armenia.
Her win follows months on the campaign trail that took her to different countries across the world.
Heads of State and Government of the organisation’s member countries unanimously endorsed Mushikiwabo on the last day of the summit.
In her acceptance speech Mushikiwabo thanked those who supported and guided her throughout her campaigns.
She said that over the last two and a half months, she toured almost all the parts of the world campaigning, and managed to gather the views and expectations of member states of La Francophonie.
She thanked the heads of African states, particularly President Paul Kagame, who is the Chairperson of the African Union, for their support.
Mushikiwabo said that during the last nine years as Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, she has managed to acquire experience, which enabled her to build a strong relationship with various countries across all continents, something she will draw from in her new role.
She added: “I equally thank you for the opportunity you offered to me, this Francophonie family has an enormous potential,” she said, adding; “That is the reason why I would like to introduce myself to this post, the potential to serve our population with truth, good reputation and in a transparent way .”
Reflecting on her meetings during the campaign, she said she listened to people’s ideas and expectations. Some expressed their desire to be more involved in the organisation’s functioning, she said.
While some wanted more representation, others talked about a La Francophonie that promotes and caters for the interests of all members, she added.
“As Secretary General, I take into account the importance of the French language because I am convinced that French has its place around our other languages and for the good of our global world.
“For those who don’t know me, I would like to tell you that I am a very pragmatic lady, (during the) nine years that I spent at the top position of diplomacy, I have learnt to find concrete solutions to the well-defined problems.”
She added that: “I intend to ensure the Francophonie plays a great role as a forum for mediation, dialogue, negotiation and reconstruction.”
She noted that La Francophonie should support each member country in a very particular context towards a common interest.
Mushikiwabo takes over from Canadian Michaëlle Jean, who has held the position for the last four years.
The organisation was created in 1970 to promote the French language, peace, and sustainable development in member states.
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame joined the rest of the world in welcoming Minister Louise Mushikiwabo’s unanimous victory as the new Secretary General of La Francophonie.
Mushikiwabo’s election to the helm of the 84-nation bloc took place on Friday during the 17th OIF summit in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Her win follows months on the campaign trail that took her to different countries across the world.
Mushikiwabo will take over from Canadian national Michaëlle Jean, who has led the body since 2014.
President Kagame described Mushikiwabo’s victory as “historic” for Rwandans and Africans who unanimously fronted her as their single candidate.
C’est un moment historique pour nous tous, Rwandais et Africains, qui démontre une fois de plus, qu’il n’y a pas de défis insurmontables face à une Afrique unie et déterminée. Toutes mes félicitations à toi, Louise Mushikiwabo.(2/2) #Francophonie #SommetEVN2018
— Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) October 12, 2018
He thanked the African countries for the support and other member states for backing Rwanda’s candidate.
This, he added, was an historic moment for Rwandans and Africans in general, adding it demonstrates that there are no insurmountable challenges for a united and determined Africa.
On her part, the First Lady urged Mushikiwabo to carry on her new duties with the Rwandan Agaciro (dignity), which she urged her to inculcate in the Francophonie community.
Va @LMushikiwabo, jolie “Imbuto” du pays des ancêtres, va, fille d’Afrique! Continue à porter haut le flambeau “Agaciro”, au cœur de la Francophonie!
— First Lady of Rwanda (@FirstLadyRwanda) October 12, 2018
While responding to First Lady’s comment, Mushikiwabo said that Mrs Kagame’s message was an “ointment to a soul that was full on emotions”.
She said that the message from the First Lady brought great relief at the end of a very busy day; one she said was full of emotions.
Mushikiwabo also commended those that supported her through her journey to winning the Francophone top post.