On Saturday, the nations of Gabon and Togo entered the Commonwealth, becoming the newest members of the English-speaking club presided over by Queen Elizabeth II that have no historical ties to the United Kingdom.
On the last day of its leadership meeting in Rwanda, the 54-nation organization, which is composed primarily of former British colonies, approved Togo and Gabon's applications for membership.
Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, remarked at the meeting's final press conference, "We have admitted Gabon and Togo as new members, and we all welcome them to the Commonwealth family.
Since Rwanda's accession to the Commonwealth in 2009, the French-speaking West African republics are the organization's first new members.
Foreign Minister of Togo Robert Dussey claimed that joining the Commonwealth provided access to 2.5 billion consumers, increased educational opportunities, and tapped into a "craze" for English among his compatriots.
He told AFP that Togo's ambition to join was driven by a desire to "extend its diplomatic, political, and commercial network... as well as to become closer to the English-speaking world."
In the wake of Brexit, it also enabled the 8.5 million-person tiny and developing country to redefine bilateral ties with the UK outside of the European Union, he continued.
To veer away from France, francophone governments have also applied to join the Commonwealth recently, according to analysts.
Given that Togo's economic troubles are frequently attributed to French influence, political analyst Mohamed Madi Djabakate of Togo predicted that the decision will be well received.
He told AFP that "For many people, Togo entering the Commonwealth is preferable to sharing the French language and culture, which ultimately has not fostered progress."
Rwanda's accession occurred at a time when Kigali and Paris were under a great deal of tension. Since then, the East African nation has developed strong connections with the UK, including a contentious migrant agreement reached this year.
Ali Bongo, the president of Gabon, declared that his nation's inclusion in the organization "made history."
Following its independence for sixty-two years, Bongo declared on Twitter that "our country is getting ready to break through with a new chapter."
From an economic, diplomatic, and cultural standpoint, Gabon has a wealth of potential.
At a time when the Commonwealth's significance and goals are once again being debated, their admission is advantageous to the Commonwealth.
According to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the organization's continued existence was evidenced by the interest of new members.
However, it can also cast doubt on the Commonwealth's stated adherence to democracy and good governance as its core values.
Oil-rich The Bongo family has ruled Gabon, an Atlantic-coastal former French province, for 55 years.
Following the passing of his father, Ali Bongo assumed leadership. In 2016, he was re-elected after an election plagued by deadly violence and accusations of fraud.
It has been more than fifty years since dynastic rule began in Togo, a former German colony that later became a French possession.
From 1967 until his passing in 2005, when his son Faure Gnassingbe took over, General Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled with an iron grip.
In elections that were all challenged by the opposition, he was re-elected.
The Commonwealth, which includes countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, was founded as a result of the British Empire and now represents one-third of the world's population.
When Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, joined the Commonwealth in 1995, it became the first member without a long-standing relationship with Britain.