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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid