Promoting French in Africa

The OIF estimates that the number of French speakers will rise from 220 million in 2012 to 715 million in 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa. This extremely promising outlook for French will only become a reality, however, if the countries of Africa, with their high population growth rates, make sure to hand down a knowledge of the language to future generations.

Illust: A school in Africa, 61.9 kb, 450x302
A school in Africa supported by the ELAN-Africa program (Photo: OIF)

This is the background against which the MAE’s policy of promoting French is set. The policy centres on three strategic courses designed to embed French firmly into the education systems of French-speaking Africa, whether French is taught as a subject or is used as the language of instruction:

support for initial and in-service training for teachers of and in French, with particular emphasis on the spread of ICT in education;

support for enlivening the French-speaking environment to make it more attractive to young and active populations;

support for teaching in the local languages and coordination with the teaching of French via the ELAN-Afrique initiative, launched to help improve the quality and effectiveness of primary education in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa.

It is essential for the future of French to reverse the trend towards diminishing proficiency in French observed in sub-Saharan African education and to devise programmes aimed at young people.