The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has disclosed that Ghana is on its way to achieving full membership in the International Organization of La Francophonie Organization (OIF).
She stated that Ghana was delighted to become a full member of this essential organization, whose relevance to the socio-economic development of the country cannot be overlooked.
The Minister, who disclosed this during a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the 53rd Anniversary of the OIF on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, expressed her optimism that Ghana would transition to this status at the 2024 summit.
She stated that it was an honour for Ghana to belong to this robust organization founded on such noble principles as the promotion of the French language, cultural and linguistic diversity, the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights, all of which are enshrined in its constitution.
“We share in the need to support training, higher education and research as we are committed to enhancing economic cooperation between us and the five continents of the Francophonie world, in pursuit of sustainable development.
“Considering the La Francophonie accounts for over 1.5 billion people, represents one-third of UN member countries and Africa has the largest number of French speakers accounting for 55% of the continental population, we are happy to say that Africa holds the key to the future of La Francophonie,” she added.
According to the Minister, Ghana has been active and engaged in this status since 2006, when it was admitted into this rich Francophone world of cultural diversity.
She further said the various Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding signed between Ghana and the OIF allowed Ghana to enjoy fruitful collaborations with the Organisation and its member states.
“The Linguistic Pact signed in May 2018 and the Teacher Mobility Programme signed between our two sides in November 2021 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,” she stressed.
On his part, the Lebanese Ambassador to Ghana and the President of La Francophonie Ambassadors’ Group, Mr Maher Kheir, commended the President of Ghana for his futuristic vision in supporting the Francophonie to help Ghana play a vital role within Africa and the international scene.
“We have seen increased Francophone activities in recent times in Ghana as a sign of its commitment to the vision. For example, last year, we launched the Mobility Project, a joint programme by the OIF and the Ministry of Education, where 21 teachers were deployed to strengthen the teaching of the French language in Ghana. In addition, they organized a capacity-building programme to reinforce linguistic and pedagogical competence. And we know we’ll see many more similar activities in the future.
“Ghana is closely associated with the Francophonie and shares in its principles of peace, diversity, democracy, and human rights among others,” he added.
Ghana, he said, therefore, already has the base to be a full member and to play a prominent role within the African region.
The week-long celebration, which aims to increase the visibility of La Francophonie in Ghana, began on 18th March with a walk-through Accra’s streets, followed by a football match and would end on 25th March 2023 with other exciting and engaging activities.
The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana Armed Forces, members of the Diplomatic Corps and some students.
Patience Anaadem, ISD