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Francophonie Advocates Changes

sommet-francophonie-2014-photo-chefs-etatsThe over 35 Heads of State and Governments left Dakar satisfied with summit results even though the stakes remained high.

Stakes and Debate

The tone and spirit of the 15th Francophonie Summit that ended in Dakar, Sunday, November 30 was not only that of change but what direction such a change should take. The common denominator from the 15 speeches delivered at the solemn opening was that the organisation has come of age and must go beyond simple defence of language and culture. The Senegalese Head of State, Macky Sall set the tone hammering on the theme of the summit: “Women and Youths in the Francophonie: Vectors of Peace, Actors of Development.”

In the same vein, he and other orators underscored the necessity for the Francophonie to embrace the economic challenges of the time as well as other socio-political challenges affecting countries that make up the organisation. The Heads of State unanimously agreed that it was inappropriate for an organisation that counts 14 per cent of the World’s population and controls 20 per cent of international trade to stay aloof in the face of such global challenges.

Paul Biya’s Clarion Call

The Cameroonian President was very much in the centre of action and proposals as to how best the new package of action could forge ahead. In a highly pragmatic approach, President Biya recalled the ills hanging on the Francophonie as an organisation. Some of them include: absence of justice, existence of poverty and exclusion, dangerous precedence epitomised by civil war, ethnic or religious rivalry and oppression of the population.

But as the President told the audience from the pulpit, there can be a solution to all these and this can best take the form of solidarity without any compromise. The suggestions were so pertinent that left no one indifferent including the Senegalese media.  In effect, President Biya considered common action as the best war against terrorist acts. Boko Haram that has been staging continuous incursions in Cameroon and its neighbours is a common enemy.

This “solidarity that unites us, should equally continue to be exercised towards development”, he said, stating inter alia that the aspirations of women and youths should take the form of programmes and projects in order to give them the means necessary to “fight poverty, famine and diseases.”


The Dakar Summit was equally an occasion for President Biya to discuss with other Heads of State. The first discussion that took place at KingFarhd hotel was with President Mohamadou of Niger while the second organised sequentially at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre was with François Hollande of France and the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

  Welcomed at the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, Friday, November, 28  by the Senegalese Presidential couple, President Macky Sall and wife, Marieme Faye Sall, Cameroon’s Presidential couple, President Biya and wife, Chantal Biya, all along the two days of deliberation featured prominently in all events that marked the summit.

Shortly before takeoff for Yaounde, Monday, December 01, the Presidential couple was welcomed at the VIP lounge at the airport by the Senegalese Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Sidiki Kaba. All along their stay in Dakar, the Cameroonian population answered present to give them a befitting welcome.

Resolutions and Commitments

The Dakar summit, like the outgoing Secretary General, Abdou Diouf specified was unlike others. Whereas participants, notably the 900 media men who covered the event waited to be issued a final statement on the resolutions and the announced Dakar Declaration, organisers rather convened a press conference during which they unveiled the conclusions of the summit. Five main speakers responded to the questions of the journalists: Presidents Macky Sall, the host President, Francois Hollade of France, Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar, outgoing Secretary General, Abdou Diouf and new Secretary General, Haitian-born Canadian, Michaelle Jean.

The main resolutions of the summit were the adoption of a strategy to embrace economic challenges of the Francophonie, encouragement to member countries to support those affected by the Ebola virus, actions tailored towards youth and women including the challenge of employment. The admission of Mexico, Costa Rica and Kosovo brought up membership to 80. The new Secretary General was chosen amidst lots of intricacies as the four other African candidates had to be convincingly pushed out. After a series of closed door meetings, it was agreed on consensus that Michaelle Jean becomes the next S.G. In the same vein, Madagascar was selected as host to the next summit in 2016.sommet-francophonie-2014-photo-chefs-etats

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