Two former French colonies in Africa join the Commonwealth
Gabon and Togo have moved to strengthen their diplomatic armoury in a bid to ease their reliance on France.
They have been admitted to what was originally founded as a club of former British colonies but has been steadily diversifying its composition. These two small francophone African nations are now the Commonwealth’s 55th and 56th members.
Rwanda joined in 2009 and Mozambique came into the group in 1995. None of these states had particular past historical ties to the UK.
The fact that they have opted to join the Commonwealth suggests that they see the organisation as a useful network of diplomatic and cultural influence, and for exercising “soft power” on the world stage.