News

Former Senegal President Optimistic About Democracy in Africa

Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Francophone Organization, looks on during the closing news conference, File October 24, 2010.
Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Francophone Organization, looks on during the closing news conference, File October 24, 2010.

Senegal's former president Abdou Diouf offered upbeat comments about the spread of democracy in Africa -- including in his own country, despite controversy over the Senegalese presidential elections. Diouf heads the Paris-based International Organization of La Francophonie.

Former President Abdou Diouf will not comment in detail over Senegal's presidential elections, where incumbent Abdoulaye Wade faces a run-off vote this month against rival Macky Sall.

Despite all the fears, Diouf said, Senegal has completed its first round of elections under peaceful and normal conditions.

Diouf served as Senegal's president for nearly two decades, stepping down after he was defeated by Wade in the 2000 vote.  He earned widespread praise in the way he ceded power -- telephoning Mr. Wade to congratulate him on his victory.

Political opponents now criticize Mr. Wade for increasingly authoritarian policies -- and for seeking a third term in office, despite a constitutional two-term limit.

Today, Diouf heads the International Organisation of la Francophonie, a body representing 75 states and governments that aims to promote the Francophone language and culture -- along with peace, democracy and development.  In a wide-ranging interview, he expressed confidence in Africa's emergence as a key player in the 21st century.

Increasingly, Diouf says, elections are taking place regularly across the continent, independent institutions and opposition groups are forming and civil society is more active.  With good economic growth, he believes, Africa will astonish the world.

Still, there remain major problems, including in the vast, resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, which is mired in conflict and poverty.  The Francophonie organization will hold its next summit in Kinshasa, in October.

Diouf says the summit is an occasion to help the DRC confront its problems and improve its record on democracy, the state of law, good governance and human rights.

Diouf also argues the French language still holds a place in a world where English, Chinese and Arabic are major heavyweights.  He is fighting for its inclusion as one of the main official languages at this year's Olympic Games in London.  And he points to the 220 million French speakers around the world -- a number that he says is growing.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs