News / Africa

    DRC to Host Francophone Summit

    Nick Long
    Security guards walk past national flags at dusk at the Francophone Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, October 10, 2012.Security guards walk past national flags at dusk at the Francophone Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, October 10, 2012.
    x
    Security guards walk past national flags at dusk at the Francophone Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, October 10, 2012.
    Security guards walk past national flags at dusk at the Francophone Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, October 10, 2012.
    Heads of state and other representatives from more than 70 French-speaking countries are expected in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the annual summit of La Francophonie or the French-speaking world, to be held October 12-14.  Among them will be French President Francois Hollande, who is expected to deliver a message that may be taken as critical of the host country.

    As a former colonial power, France created La Francophonie, and Hollande’s predecessors were often accused of trying to perpetuate a French empire through murky deals with undemocratic African leaders.

    The current French president, a socialist, has said he wants to break with that past and do more to promote democracy on the continent. When he took office this year, Hollande immediately faced the question of whether to mark French disapproval of flawed elections in the DRC last year by boycotting the summit in Kinshasa.

    He has decided to attend but this week described the situation in Congo as unacceptable in terms of rights and democracy. At a news conference in Paris Tuesday he was asked what his message would be in Kinshasa.

    Hollande told journalists he would say that French is not just a language of France - it is a language of Africa, and it is also supposed to be a language of values and principles, among them democracy, good governance and the fight against corruption. He said he would deliver this message while in DRC, which he described as a country marked by a certain number of democratic difficulties, but also by difficulties on its borders, a reference to neighboring countries’ alleged support for rebels in eastern Congo.

    In response, DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende told media in Kinshasa on Wednesday that democracy is more advanced in Congo than elsewhere in central Africa, and that people would come to Kinshasa and see the country is not a failed state but a state like any other.

    For French-speaking Africans in general, the French president has a more positive message, which he said he would deliver in Dakar on his way to Kinshasa.

    French President Francois Hollande speaks with journalists after a Franco-Spanish summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 10, 2012.French President Francois Hollande speaks with journalists after a Franco-Spanish summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 10, 2012.
    x
    French President Francois Hollande speaks with journalists after a Franco-Spanish summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 10, 2012.
    French President Francois Hollande speaks with journalists after a Franco-Spanish summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 10, 2012.
    Hollande said he will carry a message of France’s confidence in Africans’ future, of solidarity with their development and of friendship, because France needs a dynamic Africa.  He added that he will tell Africa’s young people they are an asset and in no way a burden, and that he would deliver this speech in Senegal which, he said, had shown in the past few years its ability to make democracy a reality.

    The opposition in the DRC had called for a general strike on Tuesday to signal its dissatisfaction with the state of democracy in the country but cancelled it at the last moment and there has been no announcement of any large demonstration planned during the summit.

    However, police trucks with water cannon are standing by.  Political observers do not expect any major issues to be resolved at the Francophone summit but the situation in Mali will likely dominate discussions among West African leaders.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora