16 April 2010
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will pay official visits to Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa from 18 to 26 April 2010 as part of his regular consultations with Commonwealth leaders on the activities of the organisation.
The first leg of his visit will be Johannesburg, South Africa (18 to 20 April) where he will address the 14th conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association-- a platform that brings together senior executives in the radio and television industry.
The Secretary-General will speak to the theme of the Conference – “Broadcasting Scores” – underlining the key role played by radio, television and other forms of broadcasting in promoting democratic governance and development.
From 20 to 21, Mr Sharma will be in Lesotho to meet Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, and in Botswana from 21 to 24 April to meet President Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
In all the three countries, the Secretary-General will brief the leaders and Ministers on the organisation’s plans to implement key outcomes of the 2009 Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago-- such as supporting member countries to deal with the impact of climate change, the establishment of a network to strengthen election management bodies, youth entrepreneurship, and how to promote investment and trade, to help lift millions of Commonwealth citizens out of poverty.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Mr Sharma said: “Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa are vital cogs in the African Commonwealth of 19, and the wider Commonwealth of 54.”
He added: “Botswana and Lesotho may be classic ‘small states’ and South Africa may be a G20 member, but all – larger and smaller, richer and poorer – face the same Commonwealth challenges of entrenching democracy and promoting development. This family of nations gives them voice, and a forum to share best ways of doing things, not just through networks, but though assistance on the ground. So I am here in the region to talk with all three valued members about advancing Commonwealth goals.”
The Secretary-General will conclude his trip with another keynote address at the Commonwealth Vice Chancellors Forum at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, on 25 April 2010. The theme of the Forum, which is organised by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, is “The role of higher education in meeting the Millennium Development Goals,”
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