News / Africa

Will French-Speaking African Countries Embrace English?

TEXT SIZE - +
Ricci Shryock
This fall, Gabon President Ali Bongo announced the Central African country will increase English throughout the educational and economic infrastructure.
 
Like Rwanda did a few years back, Gabon will remain a member of both the Francophone bloc, but also become a member of the English-speaking Commonwealth.
 
Now that Gabon has followed Rwanda’s lead, could other French-speaking African nations follow?
 
Passassim Nanguit, a spokesperson for the West African bloc of the Francophone International Organization, said the group is not concerned that other countries will go the way of Rwanda and now Gabon.
 
“The decision of Gabon to adopt English is nothing catastrophic.  Because all the Francophone countries have taken English as a second language. What Gabon is doing is what France has done or what Togo has done. It’s not truly adopting English,” said Nanguit.
 
“Everyone looks at their own country’s interests,” he added. “For example Ghana, they are also learning French.”
 
But English-speaking Ghana, at the Alliance Francaise, where students come to learn French, staff coordinator Caroline Tatrareau said that one third of their students have actually arrived from neighboring French-speaking countries such as the Ivory Coast, in order to learn English – not French.
 
“We have a lot of people, at Alliance Francaise, who came from Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina, Togo, who are Francophone, who come here to learn English,” she said. “Which is really strange.”
 
According to political risk analyst Lydie Boka, Burundi is also eyeing a place in the English-speaking Commonwealth. “Burundi is going that route. I think they’ve asked to join the Commonwealth without saying whether they would abandon the Francophone. I think a number of the Africa countries, rightly or wrongly, think the English-speaking countries develop faster,” she said.
 
But Ousmane Paye, special assistant to the Secretary General of the Francophone International Organization, said despite all of this, the French-speaking world will continue to grow – especially in Africa.
 
“Rwanda is still a Francophone member, and a member of the Commonwealth. There are other countries that are members both the Francophone and Commonwealth organizations … like Cameroon and Mauritius,” he said.

Listen to report on influence of English on francophone West Africa
Listen to report on influence of English on francophone West Africai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid