Ghana has become the latest anglophone nation to be admitted to full membership of La Francophonie.
The country had been an associate member of the group since the 11th Francophonie Summit in Bucharest on September 28, 2006, bypassing the observer status.
At the 17th La Francophonie Summit in Erevan, Armenia, yesterday (Friday, October 12) where the full membership was affirmed, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “Ghana, an anglophone nation, is only one of a handful of countries that enjoys membership of both the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, and we value this situation very much.”
The President, who flew to Armenia from London where he attended the 5th Financial Times Summit, said in a speech that Ghana’s membership of La Francophonie should serve as a big boost to addressing some of the country’s mutual concerns.
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Stressing the importance of the French language globally, the President said it was set to become one of the world's most commonly spoken languages.
He said with the number of people who spoke French expected to rise to over 700 million, of which 80 per cent would be in Africa, the lives of Ghanaians were intimately linked with the francophone world.
President Akufo-Addo addressed the summit in impeccable French and promised to promote the language in the country.
“As a country bordered to the north, east and west by French-speaking countries, and to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana recognises the strategic importance of her immediate neighbours to whom we are bound by profound ties of blood, geography and history, and, indeed, of all French-speaking countries, to the development of our country,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana, with a strong functioning democracy, shared the aims and values of La Francophonie, and indicated that Ghana looked forward to playing a significant role in the realisation of the democratic values.
He submitted that his goal was to live, one day, in a bilingual Ghana where English and French were spoken, together with the indigenous languages.
The President said the government had already begun working towards that, and noted that on May 15, 2018, he authorised the signature of a language pact with La Francophonie towards helping to make the dream a reality.
Additionally, he said, the government had introduced a bilingual classroom project at the basic education level, where certain subjects were taught in both English and French, while the study of French was being made compulsory at the basic level of Ghana’s educational system.
President Akufo-Addo called for an increase in trade and investment cooperation among member countries of La Francophonie.
He said trade cooperation was crucial to propelling socio-economic development in the 84-member countries.
“History tells us that this is the best route to general progress and prosperity. With the help of digital technology, we can then accelerate economic growth, create the much-needed jobs for our youth and take advantage of the vast potential of Africa’s young population,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the 21st century, with the aid of science and technology, offered the prospects of building a world civilisation of prosperity, dignity and security for all the peoples of the world.
“I am an unrepentant optimist, and I am confident that we can work together to build such a new world, with member states of La Francophonie taking the lead,” the President stated.