French is a "universal language" and the number of Francophones in the world increases, said Secretary General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie EurActiv in an interview at the thirteenth international summit of the organization .
Abdou Diouf is the Secretary General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) since 2003.
He was the second President of Senegal, serving from 1981 to 2000. It is a remarkable personality, both in its peaceful accession to power by his departure willingly after losing the elections in 2000.
The Commonwealth Games, which are to conclude in Delhi, ensure high visibility to the Commonwealth as a global political entity. Do you have a strategy to make the most famous in world politics Francophonie?
We are aware that there is work to do in this area and we are working. But it also requires that the media help us by our actions!
Do you know that we organize every four years since 1995, the Games of La Francophonie? The latest edition, which was held in Beirut in 2009, was a great success. But as the saying goes, trains that arrive on time nobody is interested ...
But I remain confident. The Francophonie Summit, which has just started in Montreux, is a new opportunity to communicate our actions.
This summit was moved from Madagascar to Switzerland. Will it help or help to put pressure on that country? Will it be more effective than the Commonwealth vis-à-vis Zimbabwe?
Comparison is not right, especially with regard to political situations. Each crisis is unique and the response of the international community is adapted to each situation. The originality of the Francophonie, in politics, is certainly to condemn states that do not meet their commitments on democracy, human rights and rule of law in the Declarations of Bamako and St. Boniface, but also to help them achieve a return to constitutional legality.
La Francophonie course suspended cooperation with Madagscar immediately after the events of 2009. But we are also a member of the International Contact Group in which we monitor the evolution of the situation. We do not give up and continue our efforts to finding a solution to this crisis whose first victims are, as always, people.
After the failure of the latest international mediations, we are convinced that it is the Malagasy parties who must find a political solution, and it is in this sense that we act now.
La Francophonie is she a means to give voice to African countries?
Not only African but to all countries, whether big or small, in both North and South, landlocked or geographically isolated. Francophonie, each State shall have one vote. There are no privilege or right of veto. There are not more than the Security Council and the adopted method is the dynamic consensus.
The International Organization of la Francophonie is an example for the democratization of international relations! It is a place where states have the ability to create a real exchange between them. It is, as the Leopold Sedar Senghor said, the "appointment of giving and receiving"
The Francophone world levels of economic development varied. Does the absence of a common feature prevents them from speaking with one voice on key policy issues?
No, although it is true that on some issues, the positions of each are very different. Before every major international meeting, the Francophonie organize consultations between all states and governments to reach a common position that allows us to speak with one voice.
What do you think is the future of French as a world language?
Let me state right away that French is a universal language and remains as it is, with English, the only language spoken on five continents! You talk about a decline, but do we really know the number of people who spoke French in the 18th and 19th century? I think, in this area, we made too many shortcuts.
It was one of the objectives of the report published in early October by the Observatory of the French language OIF: an update, with a scientific and reliable method, on the status of French in the world. The figures clearly show an upward trend with regard to the speakers, which rose from 200 million in 2006 to 220,000,000 today.
Nevertheless, the approach of the Francophonie is not to fight against the English or any other language in particular. Our goal is to promote cultural and linguistic diversity on the assumption that any linguistic monopoly is bad for our world.
Besides language, what are the other ways in which the Francophonie has to distinguish itself from other global bodies such as the G8, the G20 or the Commonwealth?
La Francophonie has not much to do with the G8 or G20, which are more economic organizations. Organization based on shared language and values, we are closer to the Commonwealth, although it is not concerned with the promotion and defense of the English language.
We share with them a certain vision of the world, more equitable, more just. We also conduct all field activities in favor of the South, particularly in the field of international trade negotiations.