Promoting french worldwide (November 2014)

In many respects, French can be considered a global language.

With over 220 million speakers, it ranks as the sixth most widely spokenlanguage in the world, after Chinese, Hindi, English, Spanish and Arabic.

A language which is present on every continent. French is an official language of 32 States and governments, with a total population of over 400 million. It is firmly established in Europe, North America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean. It is shared by the 57 member states and governments and 20 observers of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF).

A language of international institutions. French is an official language of the United Nations(UN) and many UN bodies. It is a working languageof the European Union and other regional organizations, such as the African Union. It is also one of the two official languages of the Olympic Games.

A language learnt worldwide. French is taught as a foreign language in almost every national education system. It is the most widely learnt language after English. It is taught by half a million teachers to 120 million pupils.

A language of culture and knowledge. French-language films and literature are the most widely distributed after English-language works. With its wealth of cultural sites, particularly museums, France has become the world’s leading tourist destination. Its universities rank third in terms of their foreign student numbers. France also has the largest network of international schools.

A language of the international economy. The French economy is the fifth largest in the world. The French-speaking world accounts for 15% of global wealth and 12% of international trade.