By: Hannah Dadzie
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has stressed the need to support education and research in French Language, to enhance economic cooperation between Ghana and Francophone countries, in pursuit of sustainable development.
She said this at a Flag-Raising ceremony to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie, OIF in Accra. Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, noted that speaking more than one language helps to facilitates trade and economic growth.
“The various agreements and memorandum of understanding signed between Ghana and the OIF have accorded Ghana the opportunities to enjoy fruitful collaboration with organizations and its head member states. The linguistic plan signed in may 2018 and teacher mobility program are notable examples of our engagements. Within the context of the Teacher Mobility Programme, Ghana has played host to over 20 French teachers drawn from various Francophone countries, who are helping to improve the quality of teaching and learning of French in all the regions of the country across various sectors” The Foreign Affairs Minister indicated
The 88-member Francophonie community, has for the past 53 years, become a diverse political-economic-cultural space, contributing to maintaining global peace, cooperation and sustainable development.
La Francophonie accounts for more than one-point-five million people in the world, representing one third of UN member countries. With nearly 20 percent of global trade, the organization accounts for 16 percent of the world’s GDP. Ghana is closely associated with the Francophonie, and shares in its principles of peace, diversity, democracy, human rights among others.
The country has since 2006, had the status of associate member within the International Organization of La Francophonie. Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, was hopeful Ghana will achieve full membership status in the 2024 summit of the organization
“I believe La Francophonie is more poised than ever to take up the challenges of the 21st century through economic cooperation and the development of cultural and creative industries in the quest for a better life for the younger generations. Ghana is therefore very excited to become a full member of this essential organization, whose relevance to the socio-economic development of our country cannot be overlooked. We are happy to be part of this drive which aligns with the vision of the government of Ghana” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey noted
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey used the opportunity to commend the Secretary General of La Francophonie, Madam Louise Mushikiwabol, and her staff for their hard work in moving the Organisation forward despite the numerous global challenges and political crises that had beset the Francophone space.
She congratulated her, for her able leadership, which had invigorated the Organisation to provide adequate responses to the myriad 21st Century challenges facing humanity ranging from security, environmental, technological, and digital revolution to gender equality issues.
She said Ghana applauded the flagship projects that she had initiated to enhance the visibility and relevance of the organisation.
The Lebanese Ambassador and President of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors, Maher Kheir, commended Ghana for the support it gives to the Francophone countries.
“The President Nana Akufo-Addo has on many occasions given his support to La Francophonie and the French language which goes to prove the fraternal relations with Ghana. Indeed, His Excellency, plays this instrument perfectly as he continues to push for progressive reforms that will make Ghana a multicultural destination. I urge us all to see ourselves as envoys of solidarity, diversity, democracy and peace. This way, we’ll create a cloud of hope for our coming generations” Ambassadors Maher Kheir said
He noted that the impact and importance of French Language cannot be overstated, adding that currently, over 321 million people speak French worldwide.
He said the OIF continues to undertake several initiatives to promote French Language.
Celebrating La Francophonie, is recognizing the potential of using language and culture to unite people, create spaces for solidarity and mutual understanding. This year, Ghana is taking the commemoration of the Francophonie week a step higher to enhance the visibility of La Francophonie in Ghana. The week long celebration begins from 18th March to 25th March, 2023.