Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has been elected as secretary general of La Francophonie – an organisation of French-speaking nations similar to the Commonwealth.
Ms Mushikiwabo had the backing of the African Union and France in her bid for the job.
Rwanda under the presidency of Paul Kagame has turned away from speaking French in favour of English and has not always enjoyed good relations with France.
The two nations fell out after a French judge said President Paul Kagame had helped spark the 1994 genocide, and Rwanda accused France of arming the Hutu militias.
But both countries have sought to heal the divisions in recent years.
Activists have criticised Rwanda over its human rights record.
Human Rights Watch says that despite economic growth “tight restrictions on freedom of speech and political space remain in place… [and] the government continues to limit the ability of opposition parties and civil society groups to function freely”.