Rwanda has invited the world to Kigali for the 2020 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and shared the country’s rich culture with hundreds of thousands of people at the annual Lord Mayor’s Show in London. The Lord Mayor’s Show is 804 years old and one of the world’s largest unrehearsed civic processions of more than 6,000 people, with dozens of marching bands, dance troupes, inflatables, and ceremonial displays.
Rwanda’s procession encouraged show attendees to visit the country for CHOGM 2020 and provided a glimpse into the warm welcome delegates from the 52 other Commonwealth member countries will receive in Kigali. The theme for CHOGM 2020 is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating and Transforming.’ The float aimed to inspire and connect the City of London to Rwanda by promoting tourism and investment in Rwanda.
“This is the first time Rwanda has joined the Lord Mayor’s Show. We were proud to be part of the celebrations, share our vibrant culture and invite Londoners to attend next year’s Commonwealth Business Forum in Kigali. Rwanda’s involvement demonstrates our close ties with the City of London and commitment to the Commonwealth. As we approach CHOGM 2020, we will continue to share Rwanda’s story of transformation with the world and how we are preparing to ensure the success of the meeting.” said Yamina Karitanyi, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK.
The Rwandan float featured participants dressed in traditional attire as well as dancers and drummers known as Intore warriors. Intore translates as ‘the chosen ones’ who were the King’s warriors. Their drumming and dancing is a display of pride and courage, showcasing Rwanda’s cultural heritage.
The float also shared Rwanda’s commitment to environmental protection with gorilla mascots walking alongside a zero-emissions bike with a conservation and sustainability message promoting mountain gorilla conservation. Today, mountain gorillas are the only great ape species increasing in number anywhere in the world thanks to community led conservation efforts in Volcanoes National Park.
“We look forward to welcoming more than 5,000 delegates from around the world to Rwanda for CHOGM 2020. The meeting will be one of the largest and most diverse in Rwanda’s history and we are excited to share the country’s unique tourist attractions with the world – from trekking to see the mountain gorillas, experiencing ancient Nyungwe forest and meeting long-horned Royal cows to exploring Kigali’s night-life and going on safari to see the Big Five,” said Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board.
A RwandAir blimp was also paraded through the streets of London. RwandAir operates a flight from London Gatwick to Kigali three times a week, offering the quickest option for travellers to Kigali, and will be the official carrier for CHOGM 2020. Londoners also saw participants in Arsenal Football Club jerseys to showcase and celebrate Visit Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal as its official tourism partner and Rwanda’s strong connection to London.