CHOGM 2022: Creating Connections and Fuelling our Future
Last week saw the twice postponed 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting finally take place in Kigali. The theme for 2022 was “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming” and CHOGM lived up to this promise, proving to be of real value to DelAgua, particularly in creating new connections that will help drive our future expansion plans.
We were honoured to be selected by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) as one of just two UK businesses to be showcased at the UK GREAT exhibition at the Commonwealth Business Forum, 21st-23rd June. Chairman and co-Founder Neil McDougall, Regional Director for East Africa Euan McDougall and Rwanda Country Director Monica Keza hosted a wide range of visitors across the three days of the Forum.
Headliners included a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales who spoke with Neil, expressing real interest in our Tubeho Neza project and its innovative financing through the sale of carbon credits generated by the stoves which enables the free distribution of a top- quality stove to rural households. The Prince said it was fantastic to use carbon credits to help the poorest people in society.
Thursday saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit, showing his support for private enterprise that is transforming millions of lives and protecting the environment, themes that were front and centre in his Forum address focussing on free trade and free enterprise, with the UK as the partner of choice across Africa.
The UK Government were high profile and active at the Forum and showed a lot of interest in DelAgua. Useful meetings were held with key Ministers including Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations and Lord Popat, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda, Uganda and DRC.
The team were pleased to meet the new HM Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey and excited by his enthusiasm for taking DelAgua’s project to new countries. John and the DIT team’s support and expertise in helping pave the way for DelAgua’s expansion will accelerate access to clean cooking for millions more families.
Valuable conversations were held with Professor Charity Manyeruke, Ambassador for Zimbabwe to Rwanda and DelAgua looks forward to meetings with the Zimbabwean Government to explore expansion opportunities there. And interesting engagement with the Cameroon Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) offers further expansion potential to Cameroon.
CHOGM proved that Rwanda is the vital business hub for Africa and leaders from across the private sector were present. This provided the opportunity to explore future partnerships for DelAgua. It was particularly good to connect with Bboxx co-founder and CEO Mansoor Hamayun and to meet Chairman Frederick Hsu of NMS.
CHOGM was also about spending time with our key local partners such as Teddy Mugabo, CEO FONERWA, who contribute to our decade of impact and success in Rwanda.
It was a busy Forum, and while the VIPs and accompanying paparazzi dominate the media coverage, CHOGM’s real value lay in the opportunity for so many face- to face meetings and conversations that have the potential to drive DelAgua’s future growth and ability to transform millions more lives and nature across the Continent’s poorest rural communities. This is urgent. DelAgua have the proven model and financing so we look forward to moving from words to action, building on these new connections to expand and make change happen, fast.