La Francophonie seeks to strengthen its international role

The vice-presidency will be “assumed with responsibility in favor of French-speaking solidarity and our shared values, peace, democracy, human rights”, tweeted the Federal Councilor from Djerba, where he represents Switzerland. He took the opportunity to discuss French-speaking solidarity.

“Our objective at Djerba 2022 (is to) promote digitization in the service of the values ​​of the Francophonie. Our asset: Geneva as a center of global digital governance”, added the President of the Confederation.

Standing up in a divided world

The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), a space of 88 member, associate or observer countries, must assert “its influence in a world fractured” by multiple crises, said its secretary general Louise Mishikiwabo, at the start of this summit. two days.

“La Francophonie must remain a link to prevent tensions from degenerating into conflicts”, underlined the former head of Rwandan diplomacy, advocating an “uninhibited Francophonie” and “more united” in “the elaboration of common positions” to move towards a “redesigned multilateralism”.

Read also: Switzerland should also be concerned about a possible decline in French

She cited the many “storms” the planet has been going through, including the Covid-19 pandemic as well as environmental and technological challenges.

Focus on economy

The summit must officially focus on the economy, with the slogan “digital as a vector of development”. “It is our responsibility to lead the battle for youth employment in our area,” said Louise Mishikiwabo, whose projects also focus on female entrepreneurship.

The OIF summit – founded in 1970 – coincides with the final phase of the COP27 on climate in Egypt and follows a G20 meeting in Indonesia dominated by the war in Ukraine, an observer country within the OIF.

The head of the OIF did not mention this conflict in her speech, but French President Emmanuel Macron, present at the summit, said he wanted to discuss it with the other leaders, according to his entourage.

Gap between Africa and Westerners

On this issue, a gap has widened between African countries regretting a lack of international solidarity with the continent, in the face of Westerners who are very mobilized on the other hand to come to the aid of Ukraine.

Read also: Is the Francophonie losing the Maghreb?

Kais Saied, the President of Tunisia, who is hosting this summit sixteen months after his coup in July 2021, expressed the wish to see the meeting bring “tangible and effective results” in the face of “the upheavals that the world is experiencing”.

Alluding to the growing divisions between poor countries and developed States sitting within the OIF, President Saied called for “dreaming of a better world for all humanity, for universal development based on justice and freedom “. On behalf of France, Emmanuel Macron advocated a “Francophonie of action” far from the “purr of the summits”.

Decline of French

Upon his arrival in Djerba, Emmanuel Macron had met young ambassadors of the Francophonie, stressing that it was necessary to show realism: “the Francophonie is expanding through the demography of certain countries (…) but there are also real setbacks “. There are some 321 million French speakers in the world and projections show 750 million in 2050.

However, “in the Maghreb countries, we speak less French than 20 or 30 years ago”, observed Emmanuel Macron, invoking in particular “quasi-political forms of resistance”, the ease of use of English or even the difficulty of accessing books in French at affordable prices.

“We must have a project of reconquest”, he continued, urging to make the French language “hospitable” again by showing that we can speak a French which is “not necessarily academic”, but a language facilitating trade.

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