A summit of French-speaking nations is going down in Tunisia this weekend, with 30 leadrs centered on financial cooperation in an occasion seen as a hit for Tunisia’s President Kais Saied, greater than a 12 months after he got here to energy in a coup.
Whereas the two-day summit will formally concentrate on “digital as a vector of growth”, it should even be a chance for Western and African leaders to debate subjects such because the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the place there’s a hole on positions.
Many African nations have been essential of what they understand as an absence of worldwide solidarity with the continent within the face of its personal crises, noting that Europe managed to shortly mobilise to return to the help of Ukraine.
This 18th summit of the Worldwide Group of La Francophonie (OIF) on the island of Djerba may even be a chance to have fun the belated fiftieth birthday of an organisation based in 1970 and with 88 members — not all of whom are French-speaking, with Armenia, Egypt, Moldova, the United Arab Emirates and Serbia included.
The summit coincides with the ultimate section of the COP27 on the local weather in Egypt and follows a gathering of the G20 in Indonesia which was dominated by the struggle in Ukraine, an observer nation throughout the OIF.
In complete, 89 delegations are current, seven worldwide organizations and greater than thirty leaders together with the French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the President of the European Council Charles Michel and Senegal’s chief Macky Sall.
The re-election of the Secretary Basic of the OIF — Louise Mushikiwabo from Rwanda was the only candidate — can also be on this system of the 2 days of conferences between representatives of an space of 321 million French audio system who will greater than double to 750 million in 2050, due to African demographics.
Earlier than the summit, Ms Mushikiwabo informed AFP that she wished to ask member states to “redouble their efforts” within the face of a decline in the usage of French at worldwide organisations.
Regardless of essential voices denouncing an “inaudible” Francophonie , Mushikiwabo deemed her organisation “extra related than ever” and capable of “deliver slightly added worth” to “a lot of the world’s issues”, citing COP27 .
In response to an official from Canada, a heavyweight within the Francophone world, the organisation “could be a optimistic power” on points comparable to “peace, financial prosperity and the consolidation of democracy”.
This official indicated that Canada additionally wished to echo, throughout the summit, the “considerations” for “democratic participation” in Tunisia since President Saied seized full powers in July 2021, and which goes via a critical socio-economic disaster.
Emmanuel Macron requires extra assist for Ukraine
Emmanuel Macron won’t be giving a speech on the Francophonie summit in Tunisia, however he plans to lift the Ukrainian subject behind the scenes to attempt to garner assist on the finish of an extended diplomatic tour.
After the G20 in Bali and the Apec assembly in Bangkok, the French president has referred to as on extra nations to hitch the “rising consensus” in opposition to the struggle.
And several other leaders of the French-speaking neighborhood had indicated they wished to speak in regards to the struggle in Ukraine.
Macron could have various bilateral conferences throughout his cease in Djerba, together with with the Tunisian president, and Armenian prime minister.
The French president lamented that “within the Maghreb nations, much less French is spoken than 20 or 30 years in the past”, citing “quasi-political types of resistance”, the benefit of utilizing English and the issue of accessing books in French at inexpensive costs.
He went on to say that “we will need to have a mission of reconquest”, urging that the French language be made “hospitable” once more by displaying that it’s attainable to talk a French that’s “not essentially tutorial”, however a language that facilitates commerce.
For the African continent, “it’s the true common language”, “the Francophonie is the language of pan-Africanism”, he added.
Emmanuel Macron leaves Tunisia on Saturday night, whereas the summit formally ends on Sunday.