BUJUMBURA March 22nd (ABP) – Francophone community has a great responsibility to educate, train, transmit and cultivate students, pupils and young children, it was said on Tuesday March 20, 2018 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Aimé Alain Nyamitwe, at the opening of the International Day of Francophone community at University of Burundi, Mutanga campus.
“For Burundi, Francophone community is not just a legacy inherited from history, let alone just a linguistic link. By joining the International Organization of Francophone community (OIF), the government of Burundi wanted to join a space of exchange, commerce, solidarity and international relations, a cultural space of dialogue, openness and generosity “, said Minister Nyamitwe.
“We want an active Francophone community because we want a French language that conveys universal concepts and techniques to help Burundian youth to be competitive in the labor market, at the regional and international levels,” he said. According to him, the Burundian youth must, beyond the French language, be able to integrate fully into the today’s world. They must master the universal concepts, bathe in the new information and communication technologies, and know audio-visual techniques. The French language conveys culture by excellence, does not call for the standardization of cultures, much less the cultural monopoly from a single geographic pole. French is better at accepting cultural diversity, the Minister in charge of cooperation said.
“French, which is our common language, is also a unique language to each of us, because French presents this genius to immerse itself in the realities and values of the regions and peoples that speak it. This is how this language becomes a common property.
If French is our language to all, it is also the language of everyone: it is not the language of the other, but your other language, “said Mr. Laurent Delahousse, Ambassador of France in Burundi. With Kirundi, he added, Burundi is one of the few African countries to have a national language common to all its citizens. But, he continued, Burundi has inherited from its history (colonization) the French language, occupying an important place in public life, education, commerce and diplomacy. According to Mr. Delahousse, Burundi is among the countries of the East African community region, mostly speaking English, whose Heads of State decided in November 2013, to make French a language of work in which Burundi has spearheaded this initiative. According to him, the Francophone community is not limited to the language community and its cultural dimension; it is also, through the OIF, a strong institutional and political dimension that brings together its members on five continents.
In July 2016, the Permanent Francophone community Council decided to temporarily suspend multilateral cooperation with Burundi, with the exception of programs that directly benefit the civilian populations and those that can contribute to the development and restoration of democracy.
In this regard, the Ambassador of France in Burundi recalled that the two missions that took place at the end of 2017 show that progress is possible and expected. Their reports, he said, call for the implementation by the OIF of social programs that can directly benefit the populations and regular monitoring of the situation in order to maintain contact and reassure French solidarity.
The intergovernmental Francophone community took place on March 20, 1970 in Niamey (Niger), with the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation set from the OIF. It currently includes 84 States, more than half of the world’s States.
Léopold Sédar Senghor, then first President of Senegal, said on that occasion “In the rubble of colonialism, we found this wonderful tool, the French language”. That man of Arts perfectly expressed the philosophy of the founding fathers of the institutional Francophone community, aiming at putting the French language at the service of solidarity, development and the reconciliation of peoples through the permanent dialogue of civilizations.