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Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
(La Francophonie)
Anthem: Ode to Joy
"Égalité, complémentarité, solidarité"[1]
"Equality, complementarity, solidarity"  a
cylindrical projection of the world, highlighting the member states of la Francophonie (blue)
HeadquartersFrance Paris, France
Official language French
 -  Executive Secretary Abdou Diouf
(since 2003)
 -  APF General Secretary Jacques Legendre
 -  Conference of Niamey 20 March 1970 
 -  Total 28,223,184 km2
10,897,032.263 sq mi
 -  2013 estimate ~ 1 billion
 -  Density 34.36/km2
89.02/sq mi
a. Deliberately alluding to France's motto.

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), known informally and more commonly as La Francophonie (or, more simply, Francophonie)[2][3] is an international organization representing countries and regions where French is the first ("mother") or customary language; and/or where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers); and/or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture.

The organization comprises 57 member states and governments, three associate members and twenty observers. The term francophonie (with a lowercase "f") also refers to the global community of French-speaking peoples,[4] comprising a network of private and public organizations promoting special ties among all Francophones.[5] In a majority of member states, French is not the predominant native language. The prerequisite for admission to the Francophonie is not the degree of French usage in the member countries, but a prevalent presence of French culture and language in the member country's identity, usually stemming from France's colonial ambitions with other nations in its history.

French geographer Onésime Reclus, brother of Élisée Reclus, coined the word Francophonie in 1880 to refer to the community of people and countries using the French language. Francophonie was then coined a second time by Léopold Sédar Senghor, founder of the Négritude movement, in the review Esprit in 1962, who assimilated it into Humanism.[6][7]

The modern organization was created in 1970. Its motto is égalité, complémentarité, solidarité ("equality, complementarity, and solidarity"),[1] a deliberate allusion to France's motto. Started as a small club of northern French-speaking countries, the Francophonie has since evolved into a global organization whose numerous branches cooperate with its member states in the fields of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.


The convention which created the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation (Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique) was signed on March 20, 1970 by the representatives of the 21 states and governments under the influence of African Heads of State, Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Hamani Diori of Niger and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

The missions of this new intergovernmental organization, based on the sharing of the French language, are the promotion of the cultures of its members and the intensification of the cultural and technical cooperation between them, as well as the solidarity and the connection between them through dialogue.

The Francophonie project ceaselessly evolved since the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation, it became the intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie (Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie) in 1998 to remind its intergovernmental status. Finally in 2005, the adoption of a new Charter of the Francophonie (la Charte de la Francophonie) gives the name to the Agency of international Organization of the Francophonie (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie).[8]


For the official structure, see the flow chart given on the OIF website.

Executive Secretariat (Secretaries-General)

Abdou Diouf, the former president of the Republic of Senegal, has been the Secretary General of the Francophonie since January 1, 2003. He was reelected on September 29, 2006, for a second mandate during the Summit of the Francophonie of Bucharest, and elected again in 2010 at the Summit of the Francophonie of Montreux for another mandate running until December 31, 2013.

The Secretary General of the Francophonie is elected during the Summit. He is the keystone of the institutional device and of the Francophonie and leads the organization. He is the spokesperson and the official representative internationally of the political actions of the Francophonie. The Secretary General is responsible for proposing priority areas for multilateral Francophonie actions. His job is to facilitate Francophone multilateral cooperation and to ensure that programs and activities of all operating agencies work in harmony. The Secretary General carries out his four-year mandate under the authority of the three main institutions of the Francophonie: the Summits, the Ministerial Conference and the Permanent Council.[9]


The Summit, the highest authority in the Francophonie, is held every two years and gathers the Heads of states and governments of all member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie around themes of discussion. It is chaired by the Head of state and government of the host country, and this person assumes that responsibility until the next Summit. By enabling the Heads of state and government to hold a dialogue on all of the international issues of the day, the Summit serves to develop strategies and goals of the Francophonie so as to ensure the organization's influence on the world scene.[10]

Previous Summits

Next Summit

Ministerial Conference

The Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie gathers the foreign or francophone affairs ministers of member states and governments every year to ensure the political continuity of the Summit. This conference ensures that the decisions made during the previous Summits are carried out and to plan the next Summit. It also recommends new members and observers to the Summit.[9]

Permanent Council

The Permanent Council of the Francophonie gathers the Ambassadors of the member countries, chaired by the General Secretary of the Francophonie and under the authority of the Ministerial Conference, its main task is to plan Summits. This conference also supervises the execution of the Summit decisions made by the ministerial conferences on a day-to-day basis, about the examination of the propositions of the budget distribution.[9]

Parliamentary Assembly

The objectives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie are to represent to the French-speaking authorities, the interests of the French-speaking communities, to promote the democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights. Furthermore, it follows the execution by the operators of the Francophonie of action plans elaborated by the Conference of the members using French as a common language. It also favours the cooperation and strengthens the solidarity within the French-speaking communities, mainly towards the parliaments of the South. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie is constituted by member sections representing 77 parliaments or interparliamentary organizations. The Secretary General is the French senator Jacques Legendre.[9]

Agency of the Francophonie

The Agency of the Francophonie is the main operator of the cultural, scientific, technical, economic and legal cooperation programs decided at the Summits. It is also the legal seat of the Secretary General and is used by him as an administrative support. The agency also contributes to the development of the French language and to the promotion of the diverse languages and cultures of its members, while encouraging mutual understanding between them and the Francophonie. For this reason, it is a place of exchange and dialogue. The Agency's headquarters are in Paris and it has three regional branches in Libreville, Gabon; Lomé, Togo; and Hanoi, Vietnam.[11]


Mauritania's membership was suspended on August 26, 2008, pending democratic elections, after a military coup d'état.[12] Madagascar's membership was suspended in April 2009 due to unconstitutional transfer of power on 17 March 2009.[13] Mali's membership was also suspended in March 2012[14] due to a coup d'état, and then the Central African Republic was suspended for instances of la Francophonie at the 88th session of the CPF (March 2012), as well as Guinea-Bissau on April 18, 2012[15] for the same reason.

Five Operating Agencies

The International Organization of the Francophonie relies on five operating agencies to carry out its mandate: l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF); TV5Monde; l’Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF); l'Association des Fonctionnaires Francophones des Organisations Internationales (AFFOI); and l’Université Senghor d’Alexandrie.[16]

Association of Francophone Universities (AUF)

Established in 1961 in Caribbean.

Its mission is to contribute to the construction and consolidation of a scientific space in French. It supports the French language, cultural and linguistic diversity, law and democracy, and the environment and sustainable development. It also provides an important mobility program for the students, the researchers and the professors.[17]

Assembly of Francophone Civil Servants of International Organisations (AFFOI)

Established in 2008 in African Union - and coming from the member countries of the Francophonie.

Its mission is to support the French language and the linguistic diversity within 2010) .It also organizes seminaries to increase awareness about the importance of linguistic, cultural and conceptual diversity. The president is the French international civil servant Dominique Hoppe.

TV5Monde, the French-speaking international television

International Association of French-speaking Mayors

The International Association of French-speaking Mayors (

Senghor University of Alexandria

Main article: Université Senghor

The project of creation of a French-speaking university in the service of the African development was presented and adopted following the


The International Organization of the Francophonie leads political actions and multilateral cooperation according to the missions drawn by the Summits of the Francophonie. The Summits gather the Heads of states and governments of the member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie where they discuss international politics, world economy, French-speaking cooperation, human rights, education, culture and democracy. Actions of the International Organization of the Francophonie are scheduled over a period of four years and funded by contributions from its members.[21]

The Charte de la Francophonie defines the role and missions of the organization. The current charter was adopted in Antananarivo, on November 23, 2005. The summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26–27 November 2004 saw the adoption of a strategic framework for the period 2004-2014.

The four missions drawn by the Summit of the Francophonie are:

  1. Promoting French language and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  2. Promoting peace, democracy and human rights.
  3. Supporting education, training, higher education and scientific research.
  4. Expand cooperation for sustainable development.[21]

French language, cultural and linguistic diversity

The primary mission of the organization is the promotion of the French language as an international language and the promotion of worldwide cultural and linguistic diversity in the era of economic globalization. In this regard, countries that are members of the Francophonie have contributed largely to the adoption by the UNESCO of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (October 20, 2005).

At the national level, there is the problem of promoting the French language within the context of its co-existence with other partner or international languages in most member countries, especially in Africa. Maintaining the relative importance of the status of French is an imperative that requires solidarity and the pooling of means and resources among countries committed to the French language within their respective societies.

The Francophonie has been a pioneer in terms of the recognition of cultural diversity and dialogue of cultures. It must find ways of confronting the trend towards uniformity that accompanies globalization and fostering the preservation and development of cultural diversity.[22]

Peace, democracy and human rights

Similar to the Commonwealth of Nations, the Francophonie has as its stated aims the promotion of democracy and human rights. Following the November 3rd 2000 Déclaration de Bamako,[23] the Francophonie has given itself the financial means to attain a number of set objectives in that regard.

The Francophonie intends to contribute significantly to promoting peace, democracy and support for the rule of law and human rights by focusing on prevention. Political stability and full rights for all, the subject of the Bamako declaration, are considered key to sustainable development.

The Francophonie has chosen to provide its member countries with access to the expertise of its extensive intergovernmental, institutional, academic and non-governmental network with a view to building national capacities, resolving conflict and providing support for ending crises.[24]

In recent years, some participating governments, notably the governments of Quebec and Canada, pushed for the adoption of a Charter in order for the organization to sanction member States that are known to have poor records when it comes to the protection of human rights and the practice of democracy. Such a measure was debated at least twice but was never approved.

Supporting education, training, higher education and research

The International Organization of the Francophonie aims at connecting the various peoples using French as a common language through their knowledge. Education, like access to autonomy and information for all, begins with all children having access to a full primary education free of gender inequality. It involves an integrated approach of teaching and training from primary to secondary school that will lead to employment. Education policies must also give French an integral place alongside the partner languages. Last, the research potential of French-language academic streams must be promoted.[24]

Cooperation for sustainable development

The Francophonie is committed to working towards sustainable development by supporting the improvement of economic governance, capacity building, cooperation and the search for common positions in major international negotiations. It's necessary to manage durably the natural resources, particularly the energy and the water, and politics are established to make sure of the conservation of these resources with effective anti-poverty campaigns.[25]

See also

Notes and references


  • Glasze, Georg (2007): The Discursive Constitution of a World-spanning Region and the Role of Empty Signifiers: the Case of Francophonia. In: Geopolitics (12)4: 656-679. (pdf: [1])
  • Milhaud, Olivier (2006): Post-Francophonie?.

External links

  • (French) DMOZ
  • (French) (English), a social network for Francophiles, Francophones and those learning French (features articles and interviews).
  • L'Assemblée des Francophones Fonctionnaires des Organisations Internationales (AFFOI) is the assembly of French speaking international civil servants.

Coordinates: 48°51′36″N 2°18′12″E / 48.86000°N 2.30333°E / 48.86000; 2.30333

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