At the close of the XV Francophonie Summit, held last week in the Senegalese capital city Dakar, and by a unanimous decision following closed consultations between the Heads of the organisation’s Member States and Governments, Mrs Michaëlle Jean was chosen to succeed Mr Abdou Diouf as Secretary-General to the Organisation International de la Francophonie (OIF). Mrs Jean is the first woman to hold this function.
Québec’s Premier Philippe Couillard and the Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Christine St. Pierre, were both present and delighted with the announcement: « Michaëlle Jean is the embodiment of La Francophonie’s new vision : modern, young and vibrant. She will revitalise the French-speaking community by emphasising the importance of economic trade between the Member States”, noted Mr Couillard.
A Forward-looking Francophonie
During the last plenary sitting, the Heads of States and Governments adopted fundamental strategies which will form the basis of a renewed Francophonie, one which is vibrant and centred on economic development.
Sustainable development, promotion of human capital, social responsibility, investment and the environment are at the heart of this strategy. The Youth Strategy will focus on promoting vocational and technical training, entrepreneurship and youth mobility.
At the end of the proceedings, the Dakar Declaration reaffirmed the important place held by the French language and democratic values within La Francophonie. It centres on the young, challenges linked to employment and acknowledging women’s role as active protagonists of development.
The importance of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was also brought to the fore via a resolution proposed by the Québec Government. “At this Summit, we have laid the foundations for an Economic Francophonie. Once again, Québec has demonstrated that it intends to continue in its role as a leader for La Francophonie, through various actions taken with its partners. We want to build an inclusive and open Francophonie, one which will allow us to highlight Québec’s savoir-faire and deepen our engagements with young people and entrepreneurs”, concluded the Premier.
Madagascar was selected as the next host-country for the XVI OIF Summit which will be held in 2016.