Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo has been chosen to head the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
Mushikiwabo was elected in a suspense-free vote on the last day of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) summit in the Armenian capital Yerevan. She will replace Canadian politician Michaelle Jean.
The 57-year-old visited dozens of countries to campaign for support and received the backing of the African Union as well as the crucial support of France.
Ironically Rwanda, a former Belgian colony where French was the lingua franca, switched to English as the language of education in 2008 and joined the Commonwealth a year after.
Her election is a victory for both Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame and French President Emmanuel Macron, who have sought to improve relations between their two nations, long fraught due to Kigali’s accusations of French complicity in the 1994 genocide that killed at least 800,000, mostly Tutsis.
Her candidacy sparked criticism with Rwanda under fire over human rights violations and Kagame’s controversial constitutional changes that allow him to extend his stay in power.