Celebrating the French-speaking world in Ghana

By Embassy of France to Ghana
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Ghana Francophonie Festival: The Embassy of France in Ghana and its two major arms, Institut Français and Alliance française, as well as the Francophone embassies in Ghana participated once again in one of the largest francophonie festivals in the world, featuring in particular literary and performing arts events. Most of the events took place at the Alliance française which acted as a cultural window of the Francophonie in Ghana.

On the evening of Saturday 19th of March, the Francophonie Festival reached its peak with the “One woman show” performed by Burkinabe stand-up artist Roukiata Ouedraogo. This was the closing event of an entire week dedicated to the Francophonie, for which every year, all French-speaking Embassies in Ghana get together to share and enjoy their cultural and linguistic traditions through the French language.

On this occasion, the Ambassador of France to Ghana, HE François Pujolas appreciated Ghana's participation as a member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) since 2006. Interacting with media, he also commended the government's involvement to obtain the signature of a linguistic pact with the OIF that shall soon bear fruit. He stated that improving the Francophonie in Ghana will contribute in a better regional integration, value addition for Ghanaian youth careers and thus leading to economic development of Ghana and political stability in West Africa.

The festival kicked off on Saturday 12th of March with an opening ceremony at the Alliance Française in Accra, in presence of Francophone Ambassadors to Ghana and a wonderful evening of concerts with Ghanaian songstresses Suga and Sherifa Gunu, followed by Malian star Fatoumata Diawara and her band, to the great pleasure of the crowd.

Along with the musical theme, Francophone films were screened twice every day in Maison Française at the University of Ghana, Legon. Similar events took place in various Alliances or Maisons Françaises all across Ghana.

On Wednesday evening, Ambassador Pujolas hosted a dinner at the Residence of France. Over 150 guests and representatives from over 15 francophone embassies in Ghana enjoyed a grand buffet with culinary specialties of each francophone country represented on this occasion, thanks to the contribution in kind provided by each embassy. The deputy minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Hon. Dzifa Gomashie, was present on this occasion among other distinguished guests.

This week-long festival also hosted economic and academic events with the 'Job and Entrepreneur Fair', which enabled students or young graduates to meet businesses and associations for various job opportunities, while a roundtable discussion with successful businessmen was dedicated to entrepreneurship. Besides, information as provided on studies in Francophone countries, especially France, to all interested students from Ghana. Many students also took part in the French Contest, “le Grand Concours”, showcasing their incredible abilities to master this language. John de Baptist KOUAO, from the University of Education, Winneba won for the Specialist category and Carlos DOSSOU-YOVO, from University of Development studies (UDS), Navrongo Campus won for the Non-specialist category. Both of them won a trip to France!

The last day of the Festival witnessed a Francophone cultural fair at the Alliance Française, which allowed visitors to travel in Africa without leaving Accra! The products, food and drinks were simply incredible, all aligned with a rich selection of literature, dance, fashion or craft exhibitions.

About Francophonie: What is Francophonie? The term “Francophonie” refers to all of the states and governments worldwide who share the French language. The International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF), created in 1970, represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 80 member states and governments (57 members and 23 observers), which together account for a population of over 890 million people, including 274 million French speakers.

IOF organizes political activities alongside the four main missions which it has been assigned:

To share the French language and the cultural and linguistic diversity with other countries; To promote peace, democracy and human Rights; To support education, training, higher education institutions and research; To foster cooperation towards sustainable development.

In 2006, Ghana joined, as an associate member, the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF in French). “Francophonie” in Ghana, a country surrounded by French-speaking countries, represents a unique opportunity to meet French-speaking and Francophile: French language and culture enthusiasts and develop partnerships with the francophone communities.

La Francophonie Benchmarks

274 million French speakers worldwide There are an estimated 274 million French speakers worldwide, among them 212 million with a daily use, 54, 7% living in Africa. French is the 9th most widely spoken language on the planet French is the 9th most widely spoken language on the planet and the only one, together with English, to be spoken on all five continents. 60% of French speakers are under 30 years old In most of the IOF member countries, 60% of the population is under 30 years old. French is the 3rd most widely used language on the Web French is the 3rd most widely used language on the Web with 5% of Internet pages, after English (45%) and German (7%) and ahead of Spanish (4.5%). French is an official language in 32 member states French is either the official language, or one of the official languages in 32 of the IOF's member states, governments or observers. 19 countries have French as a language of instruction, 13 in Africa at the pre-tertiary level while other countries have French or bilingual studies at the tertiary level of Education French is the 2nd most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union French is the second most widely spoken mother tongue (16%) after German (23%) and ahead of English (15.9%) in the European Union French is the 2nd most widely spoken foreign language in the European Union French is the 2nd most widely spoken foreign language (19%) after English (41%) and ahead of German (10%) and Spanish (7%) in the European Union. 900,000 French teachers worldwide There are an estimated 900,000 French teachers worldwide. 96.2 million French-speakers in Africa Africa is the continent with the largest number of French speakers, with 96.2 million French speakers in the IOF member countries. March 20, 1970: the birth of an intergovernmental organisation of French-speaking nations March 20, 1970 saw the birth an intergovernmental organisation of French-speaking nations, with the creation in Niamey (Niger), of the Agency of Cultural and Technical Cooperation. This organisation adopted a new Charter of Francophonie in 2005 and was renamed the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) as it is still known today. The IOF: 80 States and governments The IOF has 80 States and governments (including 23 observers) across the five continents. IOF's community: 890 million people In 2008, the IOF's 80 States and governments represented a total of 890 million people, or 13% of the world's population. The IOF: over one-third of the UNO's member states The International Organisation of La Francophonie's 75 member states and governments represent over one-third of the United Nation's member states. The French-speaking zone accounts for 19% of world trade in goods With 18.9% of world exports and 19% of world imports, French-speaking countries account for 19% of world trade in goods TV5 is broadcast in 202 countries TV5MONDE, the multilateral French language television channel, has the 3rd largest international television network and is broadcast in 202 countries. 215 million homes: TV5's audience TV5MONDE broadcasts French productions 24 hours a day to an audience estimated at over 220 million homes. IOF has partnerships with 31 international and regional organizations The IOF has signed cooperation agreements with 31 international and regional organizations including the UNO, the European Union and the African Union. All IOF's members signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child All of the IOF's members signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 78 French-speaking parliaments or interparliamentary organizations The Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie comprises 78 parliaments or interparliamentary organizations. 781 French-speaking establishments for further education and research The Academic Agency of La Francophonie federates 781 establishments for further education and research in 94 countries. The International Association of Francophone Mayors represents cities in 48 countries It comprises cities and city associations from 49 countries.