What is “Francophonie”? [fr]
The term Francophonie appeared for the first time around 1880, when a French geographer, Onesime Reclus, used it to designate all people and countries speaking French. We now speak of Francophonie with a lowercase "f" to designate French-speaking people and Francophonie with a capital "F" to represent the institutional mechanism organizing relations between Francophone countries.
The French-speaking world today brings together more than 300 million people across the five continents, making French the fifth most spoken language in the world after Chinese, English, Spanish and Arabic.
It is a dynamic linguistic space. French is today the second most learned language in the world. 900,000 teachers teach it to more than 125 million people. French is also the third most used language for business, and the fourth language on the Internet.
The International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) was created in 1970. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 88 member states and governments (61 members and 27 observers), which together represent over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and account for a population of over one billion people.
Beyond a single language, Francophone speakers share a common ground of values in the areas of peacekeeping, democracy and sustainable economic development.
With an annual budget of 85 million euros, the OIF organises political activities and actions of multilateral cooperation that benefit French-speaking populations. Its actions respect cultural and linguistic diversity and serve to promote the French language, peace and sustainable development.
The Secretary General of La Francophonie is the keystone of this system. Louise Mushikiwabo was appointed to this position by the Francophonie Summit in 2018 in Yerevan (Armenia).
The International Organization of La Francophonie implements Francophone multilateral cooperation alongside four operators:
- University Agency of La Francophonie
- TV5Monde, the international television channel
- The International Association of Francophone Mayors
- Senghor University of Alexandria
La Francophonie also has an advisory body: the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie.
The IOF has its head office in Paris as well as four permanent representations in Addis Ababa (at the African Union and at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), in Brussels (at the European Union), in New York and in Geneva (at the UN).