By Juliet Nalwooga
The Commonwealth has admitted Gabon and Togo as its 55th and 56th members respectively.
Both countries are former French colonies.
Leaders accepted applications by the two West African countries at the closing session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda yesterday.
It follows formal expressions of interest by Gabon and Togo and consultation with member countries.
Rwanda was the last country to join the Commonwealth, in 2009.
Welcoming the announcement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, said The Commonwealth, which began as eight nations in 1949, has grown to 56.
She added that their continued growth, beyond the scope of their history, reflects the advantages of Commonwealth membership and the strength of our association.
Gabon is a sparsely populated country of two million people, bordering Cameroon – also a member of the Commonwealth – and Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo.
While Togo on the other hand is bordered by Ghana – a Commonwealth member – and Benin and Burkina Faso. It has a population of approximately 7.8 million people.