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Vol 48 No 24

Published 30th November 2007

Friendly in Kampala

The form and content of the Commonwealth are changing. The growing interest in the economic role of an organisation whose members include some of the most dynamic economies in Asia and Africa coincides with the election of a Secretary General from Asia's second biggest economy, India. Commonwealth ties will be important next year when India organises its 'Year of Africa'.

The Commonwealth, as always, tried to present a new face at its Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala on 23-25 November, hosted by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. The leaders chose a new Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma (see Box), whose appointment could mark India's greater assertiveness on the international stage. There was also an unusually high attendance by new leaders - 17 new faces, duly entertained to lunch by the Head of the Commonwealth, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. African heads of state turned out in force and the strong presence of Rwanda was intriguing.

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