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Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
"Égalité, Complémentarité, Solidarité"
("Equality, Complementarity, Solidarity"),[1]
alluding to France's motto
Members and participants of the Francophonie. In addition to countries, Belgian and Canadian subdivisional memberships are also represented.
Headquarters Paris, France
Official languages French
Membership 56 member states
3 associate members
14 observers
 -  Executive Secretary Abdou Diouf
Establishment 1970
Flag of La Francophonie.svg

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French language

Francophonie is an international organization of polities and governments with French as the mother or customary language, wherein a significant proportion of people are francophones (French speakers) or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.

Formally known as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) or the International Organization of the Francophonie,[2] the organization comprises 56 member states and governments, 3 associate members, and 14 observers. Francophonie may also refer, particularly in French, to the global community of French-speaking peoples,[3] comprising a network of private and public organizations promoting special ties among all Francophones.[4] In a majority of member states, French is not the predominant native language. The prerequisite for admission to the Francophonie is not the degree of French usage in the member countries, but a prevalent presence of French culture and language in the member country's identity, usually stemming from France's colonial ambitions with other nations in its history.

French geographer Onésime Reclus, brother of Élisée Reclus, coined the word Francophonie in 1880 to refer to the community of people and countries using the French language. Francophonie was then coined a second time by Léopold Sédar Senghor, founder of the Négritude movement, in the review Esprit in 1962, who assimilated it into Humanism.[5][6]

The modern organization was created in 1970. Its motto is égalité, complémentarité, solidarité ("equality, complementarity, and solidarity"),[1] alluding to France's motto. Started as a small club of northern French-speaking countries, the Francophonie has since evolved into a global organization whose numerous branches cooperate with its member states in the fields of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.



For the official structure, see the flow chart given on the OIF website:

The Francophonie has an observer status at the UN General Assembly. It has been renamed a few times since its founding:

  • 20 March 1970: Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation (ACCT) (Agence de coopération culturelle et technique).
    March 20 is now commemorated by the organization itself as the International Day of the Francophonie (Journée internationale de la Francophonie), also informally known as "The Celebration of the Francophonie"(la fête de la Francophonie).
  • 4 December 1995: Intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie (Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie)
  • December 1998: International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie)

Executive Secretariat (Secretaries-general)


Summits of the Francophonie are held every two years, at which time the leaders of the member states have an opportunity to meet and develop strategies and goals for the organization.

Past Summits:

Next summit:

Ministerial conferences

Permanent council

The Permanent Council of the Francophonie consists of Ambassadors of the member countries, and, like the ministers' conferences, its main task is to plan future summits and also to supervise the implementation of summit decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Intergovernmental agency

The Intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie is the main operator of the cultural, scientific, technical, economic and legal cooperation programs decided at the Summits. The Agency's headquarters are in Paris and it has three regional branches in Libreville, Gabon; Lomé, Togo; and Hanoi, Vietnam.


The Charte de la Francophonie defines the role and missions of the organization. The current charter was adopted in Antananarivo, on November 23, 2005. The summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26-27 November 2004 saw the adoption of a strategic framework for the period 2004-2014.

French language, cultural and linguistic diversity

The primary mission of the organization is the promotion of the French language as an international language and the promotion of worldwide cultural and linguistic diversity in the era of economic globalisation. In this regard, countries that are members of the Francophonie have contributed largely to the adoption by the UNESCO of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (October 20, 2005).

Peace, democracy and human rights

Similar to organization such as the Commonwealth of Nations, the Francophonie has as its stated aims the promotion of democracy and human rights. Following the November 3rd 2000 Déclaration de Bamako [7], the Francophonie has given itself the financial means to attain a number of set objectives in that regard.

In recent years, some participating governments, notably the governments of Quebec and Canada, pushed for the adoption of a Charter in order for the organization to sanction member States that are known to have poor records when it comes to the protection of human rights and the practice of democracy. Such a measure was debated at least twice but was never approved.


The official list of members is available at the Francophonie website.

Mauritania's membership was suspended on August 26, 2008, pending democratic elections, after a military coup d'état.[8]

Country Joined Language Notes
 Albania 1999 Albanian approximately 30% of young Albanians choose French as their first foreign language[9]
 Andorra 2004 Catalan Neighbouring France. The French President is co-Prince of Andorra. Read further: Languages of Andorra
 Belgium 1970 officially trilingual, French included French is the native language of about 40% of the population [10] and spoken as an additional languages by 48%[2]. Belgium's French community is also a member separately. See also: Languages of Belgium and Belgian French
* Wallonia French Community of Belgium 1980 French official language a community of Belgium with its two components Wallonia (excepting the German speaking community) and Brussels-Capital Region (its French-speaking majority)
 Benin 1970 French former French colony
 Bulgaria 1993 Bulgarian French is spoken by 9% as additional language, and is taught as a main foreign language in about 25% of primary schools.[11]
 Burkina Faso 1970 French former French colony
 Burundi 1970 French former Belgian UN-protectorate
 Cambodia 1993 Khmer former French protectorate (as a part of former French Indochina)
 Cameroon 1991 officially bilingual, French included over 90% of country was a French colony
 Canada 1970 Officially bilingual, French included the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick are participating governments; much of Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes formed part of New France, the North American portion of the first French colonial empire.As of 2004, a government representative from Ontario also attends as part of the Canadian delegation, although Ontario is not yet a participating government in its own right.
*  New Brunswick 1977 officially bilingual, French included considered a "participating government," this province of Canada is officially bilingual English-French and home to the largest community of Acadians.
*  Quebec 1971 French considered a "participating government," this province of Canada has French as its sole official language and is home to 85% of Canada's native francophones.
 Cape Verde 1996 Portuguese Former Portuguese colony with many neighboring French-speaking countries.
 Central African Republic 1973 officially bilingual, French included former French colony
 Chad 1970 French former French colony
 Comoros 1977 officially trilingual, French included former French colony
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 1977 French former Belgian colony. See also: Languages of the DRC
 Republic of the Congo 1981 French former French colony
 Côte d'Ivoire 1970 French former French colonySee also: Languages of Côte d'Ivoire
 Djibouti 1977 officially bilingual, French included former French colony
 Dominica 1979 English French and then British colony; Antillean Creole, a French-based creole language, is spoken by 90% of the population.
 Egypt 1983 Arabic traditional Francophone elite
 Equatorial Guinea 1989 (officially trilingual, French included) Former Spanish colony surrounded by French-speaking countries.
 Republic of Macedonia 2001 Macedonian French is taught as a second language in many Macedonian schools throughout the country.
 France 1970 French
 Gabon 1970 French former French colony
 Greece 2004 Greek French is understood and spoken by 8% of the population
 Guinea 1981 French former French colony
 Guinea-Bissau 1979 Portuguese country surrounded by French-speaking countries. Former Portuguese colony
 Haiti 1970 officially bilingual, French included former French colony
 Laos 1991 Lao former French colony
 Lebanon 1973 Arabic; French is an administrative language Under a French mandate from 1920-1943, historical Crusader ties, French language used in schools and universities, and is understood by the majority of the population.
 Luxembourg 1970 Officially trilingual, French included
 Madagascar 1970-1977,
officially trilingual, French included former French colony
 Mali 1970 French former French colony
 Mauritania 1980 Arabic former French colony, French is an administrative language
 Mauritius 1970 English; Creole is the mother tongue of the general population. Dutch, French, and then British colony; French is widely used by the media.
 Moldova 1996 Romanian close ties with Romania
 Monaco 1970 French former French protectorate
 Morocco 1981 Arabic former French protectorate; French is commonly used
 Niger 1970 French former French colony
 Romania 1993 Romanian French is understood and spoken by 24% of the population [3]. Historic cultural ties with France, especially during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
 Rwanda 1970 officially trilingual with French included former Belgian UN-protectorate. In 2009, became a member of the Commonwealth, but remains a member within Francophonie.
 Saint Lucia 1981 English Former French and British colony. Antillean Creole, a French-based creole language, is spoken by 90% of the population.
 São Tomé and Príncipe 1999 Portuguese Former Portuguese colony, neighboring French-speaking countries.
 Senegal 1970 French former French colony, part of former French West Africa
 Seychelles 1976 officially trilingual, French included former French colony (first empire), later British colony, French is commonly used
 Switzerland 1996 Officially quadrilingual, French included French is the native language of about 20% of all Swiss.
 Togo 1970 French former French colony
 Tunisia 1970 Arabic former French protectorate; French is commonly used
 Vanuatu 1979 officially trilingual former French and British condominium
 Vietnam 1970 Vietnamese former French colony

Associate Member

Country Joined Language Notes
 Armenia 2008 Armenian Historical French-Armenian ties, including the Armenian national movement and the French-Armenian Agreement of 1916. A significant part of the Armenian diaspora lives in France. See further: Languages of Armenia
 Cyprus 2006 Greek, Turkish French is understood and spoken by 12% of the population; Historical ties through the Lusignan rule of the Kingdom of Cyprus during the Middle Ages.The Republic of Cyprus enjoys a robust relationship with France and looks to French policy on many issues.
 Ghana 2006 English The country surrounded by French-speaking countries. See further: Languages of Ghana


Country Joined Language Notes
 Austria 2004 German French is spoken by 10% as additional language.See further: Languages of Austria.
 Croatia 2004 Croatian French is understood and spoken by 4% of the population, and a large part of the country was part of the Illyrian Provinces during Napoleonic rule from 1809 to 1813.
 Czech Republic 1999 Czech French is understood and spoken by 2% of the population.
 Georgia 2004 Georgian Like Armenia, Georgia had a connection with the French kingdoms in the Middle Ages.[citation needed]
 Hungary 2004 Hungarian French is understood and spoken by 2% of the population.See further: Languages of Hungary.
 Latvia 2008 Latvian
 Lithuania 1999 Lithuanian French is understood and spoken by 1% of the population.
 Mozambique 2006 Portuguese former Portuguese colony.See further: Languages of Mozambique.
 Poland 1996 Polish Poland has historic ties to France; French is understood and spoken by 3% of the population, and many Polish emigrants settled in France in the 20th century.
 Serbia 2006 Serbian French is taught in one-third of schools.See further: Languages of Serbia.
 Slovakia 2002 Slovak French is spoken by 2% as additional language
 Slovenia 1999 Slovene French is spoken by 4% as additional language, and a large part of the country was part of the Illyrian Provinces with its capital in Ljubljana during Napoleonic rule from 1809 to 1813.
 Thailand 2008 Thai
 Ukraine 2006 Ukrainian See further: Languages of Ukraine.

Significant Non-members

Some countries or regions are not members of the OIF ("La Francophonie"), but are French-speaking or have significant French history and so are considered part of the francophone world.

Country Language Notes
 Algeria Arabic, Berber, French Although French is widely spoken in the country, Algeria is not a member of the OIF. The Algerian government has implemented various reforms in recent decades to improve the status of Standard Arabic relative to French, with some success. Algeria was a part of France until 1962. See further: languages of Algeria
 Guernsey English, French, Guernésiais, Sercquiais French is an official language of Guernsey, but English is the widely predominant language.
* Puducherry
French, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam A Union Territory of India, French is an official language although indigenous languages are more commonly used.
* Aosta Valley
Italian, French, Franco-Provençal An autonomous Region of Italy. French and Italian are official languages; Franco-Provençal is a protected language.
 Israel Hebrew, Arabic French is spoken by 10% of the population.[citation needed] Israel has applied to join the OIF, but has been rejected by Chad, Lebanon and Mauritania.[citation needed]See further: languages of Israel
 Jersey English, French, Jèrriais French is an official language of Jersey, but English is the widely predominant language.See further: languages of Jersey
 Mexico Spanish Formerly occupied by France; the two countries retain strong educational and cultural ties and cooperate in many areas.
 Syria Arabic, French Although French is spoken as a secondary language in the country, Syria is not a member of the OIF. Syria was a French Mandate from 1919 to 1945. The Syrian government has implemented various nationalist reforms in the decades following independence to limit the use of French and other foreign languages, but is now taking actions to promote the status of French in education relative to English, with some success. See further: languages of Syria
 United Kingdom English Language, Welsh Language The United Kingdom has a strong tradition of learning French as a foreign language and this is quite evident in that 23% of British residents claim that they can speak and understand the French language. In addition, there are approximately 300,000 French citizens living in the main cities of the United Kingdom. The French culture can be noticed throughout various neighbourhoods in British cities with French citizens studying in French government run 'Lycées'.
 United States
* Louisiana
* Maine
* New Hampshire
* Vermont
English, French (see also Cajun French), Louisiana Creole French While it has no official language, the American state of Louisiana has English and French as de facto "official" languages. Many northern areas of New England were destinations for many French-Canadian immigrants in the mid to late 19th century and early 20th century and still contain many French-speakers.

See also


  1. ^ a b Brochure: L’Institut de l’énergie et de l’environnement de la Francophonie (IEPF). Accessed 22 January 2009.
  2. ^ Atlas of Canada: The Francophonie
  3. ^ FRANCOPHONIE 18/03/2006, Radio France International
  4. ^ "Francophonie" The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation of Canada, 2008. Accessed 22 January 2009.
  5. ^ Radio France International, February 16, 2006
  6. ^ La France à l’heure de la francophonie culturelle « Saisir du français pour l’imprégner de sa singularité ! », Radio France International
  7. ^ Déclaration de Bamako
  8. ^ "L’OIF suspend la Mauritanie", Radio France Internationale, August 27, 2008
  9. ^ Embassy of France in the US - France / Eastern Europe
  10. ^ Ginsburgh, Victor, Université Catholique de Louvain; Weber, Shlomo, Professor Economy and Director of the Center for Economic Studies of the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA, and having a seat in the expert panel of the IMF [1] (June 2006). "La dynamique des langues en Belgique" (in French) (pdf 0.7 MB). Regards économiques, Publication préparée par les économistes de l'Université Catholique de Louvain 19 (Numéro 42): 282. doi:10.1159/000013462. Retrieved 2007-05-07. "Les enquêtes montrent que la Flandre est bien plus multilingue, ce qui est sans doute un fait bien connu, mais la différence est considérable : alors que 59 % et 53 % des Flamands connaissent le français ou l'anglais respectivement, seulement 19 % et 17 % des Wallons connaissent le néerlandais ou l'anglais. ... 95 pour cent des Bruxellois déclarent parler le français, alors que ce pourcentage tombe à 59 pour cent pour le néerlandais. Quant à l’anglais, il est connu par une proportion importante de la population à Bruxelles (41 pour cent). ... Le syndrome d’H (...) frappe la Wallonie, où à peine 19 et 17 pour cent de la population parlent respectivement le néerlandais et l’anglais.". 
  11. ^ Кой и колко учи езици в Европа, Дневник.

External links


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