What you should know about La Francophonie

With the election of the next Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) due tomorrow and Louise Mushikiwabo’s chances of winning rising, there is growing interest in Rwanda in the body she is likely to head.

The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie is a grouping of nations where French is a customary language indicated by a significant proportion of the population being French speakers. The countries are not necessary former colonies of France.

The organisation came into being in 1970 leveraging on a shared language, to promote the cultures of its members and the intensification of the cultural and technical cooperation between them, as well as the solidarity and achieve connection through dialogue.

Its mandate and areas of interest include promoting French language and cultural and linguistic diversity, promoting peace, democracy and human rights and supporting education, training, higher education and scientific research.

The organisation currently comprises of 84 member states and governments. Of the total members, 58 states and governments are full members, and twenty six are observers.

The organisation’s activities are funded by member states contributions.

Out of the 84 member states comprising the organisation, 54 have voting rights with 30 being African countries.

OIF top organ, the Summit, which brings together Heads of State and Government of the member countries, reviews and discusses international politics, the world economy, French-speaking cooperation, human rights, education, culture and democracy.

The International Organisation of the Francophonie also has operating agencies to carry out its mandate, including Association of Francophone Universities, TV5Monde, the French-speaking international television, Senghor University of Alexandria, and the International Association of French-speaking Mayors.

TV5Monde, available in most member countries and has often been termed as one of the greatest achievements of the Francophonie.

The International Association of French-speaking Mayors is aimed at fostering urban development by establishing close cooperation in all areas of municipal activities.

Senghor University of Alexandria is a French-speaking university in the service of African development running as a private postgraduate institution that trains managers in areas that are a priority for development in Francophone Africa.