Francophonie Summit: “In the Maghreb, we speak less French”, regrets Macron

The 18th summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) was held on November 19 and 20, 2022 in Djerba, Tunisia. During this summit, we note the presence of 31 heads of state and government, with the ambition to see the bloc play an “increased role” internationally in the resolution of the current crises.

The 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 the two-day summit.

The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron has recognized a decline of the French language in the Maghreb and in sub-Saharan Africa. And also presented himself as the bearer of “a project of reconquest” in the face of the decline in the use of the language of Molière.

As soon as he arrived in Djerba, the French president 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” .

What are the causes of the decline in the use of French in the Maghreb?

In this sense, Macron affirms that there are some 321 million French speakers in the world and projections show 750 million in 2050. However, the latter highlights in particular the loss of influence of French in the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) and in sub-Saharan Africa and says that we must be lucid and regrets that “in the Maghreb countries, we speak less French than 20 or 30 years ago”.

And with regard to the reasons for the decline of the French language in the Maghreb countries, the French head of state invokes “quasi-political forms of resistance”, but also the ease of use of English or the difficulty of to access books in French at affordable prices.

When Macron throws a spade at Zemmour

In addition, wishing to restore its universal character, Emmanuel Macron wants to be the bearer of an ambitious project that he describes as a word that immediately reminds Éric Zemmour. “The Francophonie must be both a space of resistance and reconquest. This word has sometimes been taken by others, in my eyes ill-advisedly, ”he slips.

To embody this reconquest evoked by Macron, he signed with his Tunisian counterpart Kaïs Saïed, an agreement to strengthen the teaching of French. In addition, France will grant a loan of 200 million euros to Tunisia. Finally, Emmanuel Macron wants to make 2024 a key date by hosting the summit of La Francophonie, a few weeks before the Olympic Games.

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