Published on : 26 November 20214 min reading time
What is the Francophonie?
The term “Francophonie”, coined by the geographer Onésime Reclus, was primarily intended to name all the people who speak French in the world. In the former colonized lands, it takes on a very particular scope. Decolonization and neo-colonialism were particularly painful for the natives. Driven by a need to reaffirm and value their culture and language, the writers and poets Damascus, Senghor and Césaire founded Négritude. A few years later, these same actors would unite to become the founding fathers of La Francophonie, as we understand it in common sense today.
La Francophonie designates all 84 states using the language of Molière as their official language, language of use, administrative language or language of instruction. It was born out of the dream of thinkers and made concrete by 4 heads of state in 1970: Bourguiba (Tunisia), Hamani Diori (Niger), Senghor (Senegal) and Norodom Sihanouk (Cambodia). It is represented by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), headed by Secretary General Michaëlle Jean. With its 74 million speakers, French is the fifth most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic. It is the 2nd language chosen for learning and the 3rd business language. The French-speaking area extends over the 5 continents. A majority in Western Europe, of course. An important part is in Africa, where half of its population is French-speaking. Then come Central, Eastern and Baltic Europe, as well as North America. This body is not only limited to linguistic and cultural promotion. But, propelled by its ideals, it has much more ambitious goals. The Minister of Tourism and Environment, Arlette Soudan-Nonault signed a memorandum of understanding with the director of the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable, Jean Pierre Ndoutoum, in Brazzaville on August 4. He plans to make the Congo and its basin a tourist area of choice. Within the framework of the Blue Fund operation, emphasis is placed on the desire to move from over-exploitation of the forests to a responsible economy.
The role of the Francophonie in the world
The OIF wants to position itself as an influential player in international relations. It intends to take up the major global challenges based on its universal values.
- La Francophonie is at the same time a land of departure, transit and destination. Regulating migratory flows has become an essential issue. It is a vector of democracy against imperialist wills and a barrier against extremism, under the banner of human rights.
- It contributes to improving the standard of living of its populations by helping them to become the actors of their own development. It actively supports access to education, training, higher education and research.
- It participates in the preservation of the environment by focusing on sustainable development.
How widespread is the Francophonie throughout the world?
French is spoken and recognized as an official language in 57 states, including 29 countries. French occupies privileged strategic positions as an administrative language, language of education, language of the army, language of justice, language of the media, language of commerce or business…
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