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Francophonie: New Commitment, Compounding Exigencies

paul-biya-a-dakarThe Dakar Summit that ended last Sunday, November 30, opened floodgates of new action towards more global issues apart from language and Culture.

The over 35 Heads of State and Government including President Paul Biya of Cameroon that left the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre last Sunday, November 30, demonstrated a completely new spirit towards the prestigious International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF). All that it takes to build an organisation and reintegrate it into the mainstream of modern times was discussed with particular focus on economy, women and youths. The concerns threaded through all speeches, decisions and resolutions culminating in a consensus to the advantage of the Haitian-born Canadian lady, Michaëlle Jean who now heads the organisation, the first woman to be placed at the helm of the Francophonie.

The success of the summit as pointed out by the outgoing Secretary General, Abdou Diouf ought not only to be measured through the excellent organisation by Senegal, but by the ideas that will help in planting the new vision for the organisation. To President Paul Biya, the new spirit ought to be translated through the conception of concrete programmes and projects executed amidst solidarity among members.michaelle-jean-dakar

Idriss Deby of Chad said the situation of youth and women ought to be a constant preoccupation while Alpha Conde of Guinea, frowned at stigmatisation, which to him, is more dangerous than the Ebola virus, which President Francois Hollande of France considers as one of the greatest challenges for the Francophonie. Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara, talked of a vast movement of people, goods and technology, while the Egyptian Prime Minister called for more determination to off root terrorism.

The Load Ahead

From every indication, the load on the head of tomorrow’s Francophonie will be heavy. That is why the new Secretary General, in her maiden speech immediately after her election called on all Heads of State to put hands on deck. “I wish to work together with all structures of the Francophonie, notably actors of the organisation, Francophonie Parliamentary Association, and the civil society in order to implement the road map defined in Dakar”, she indicated in a press statement. Whereas the organisation is looking in another direction including the promotion of youths and women, Michaëlle Jean warns that the use of the French Language must be reinforced. For the economic objective to be achieved, it will be necessary to unanimously trace “the track of a modern Francophonie.”

And as if to fast-track things, Dakar seems to be setting the pace. In effect, it is organising the first economic forum to foster trade between countries of the Francophonie. Over 1,000 political and economic decision-makers were at press time awaited from the five continents of the organisation. The objective is to reflect on how best to foster trade with the Francophonie territorial jurisdiction.

According to a statement announcing the forum, it is expected to “transform linguistic solidarity into economic opportunity and common development perspective.”  In the same vein, over ten youth companies in prelude to the summit, received subventions within the framework of the Programme for the Promotion of Youth Enterprises (PPE) piloted by Conference of Ministers in charge of Youth and Sports of the Francophonie (Confejes).sommet-francophonie-2014-photo-chefs-etats


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