The La Francophonie summit in Tunisia entered its final phase on Sunday, with a session on the menu focused on political instability fueling growing civil mistrust in French-speaking Africa.
After a day dedicated to digital as a development tool and the ambition to strengthen the international role of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the leaders met again on Sunday for new meetings, including in camera. based on “civil distrust”.
Ahead of the summit, OIF secretary-general Louise Mushikiwabo told AFP she wanted to create an “idea” for awareness among the continent’s leaders.
For him, “the rebellion we see in francophone youth in Africa is happening out of political frustration”, “the frustration of everyday life” and in the face of “the ruling class”.
“It’s not at all a rejection of the French language,” said the former head of Rwandan diplomacy, acknowledging that it sometimes reflects France, the former colonial power in the region.
The Djerba meeting adopted a new round table format with a keynote speaker to present to the general public the main points of the discussions between high-level leaders, in order to distinguish them from summits interrupted by a series of speeches.
Other seminars on Sunday will be devoted to youth and women’s entrepreneurship before the opening of the economic forum that will expand the summit on these topics.
Position on Ukraine
Founded in 1970, the OIF has three main missions: to promote the French language, particularly through educational programs, to promote economic cooperation in the French-speaking region of 321 million speakers, which is expected to more than double by 2050, and to mediate international conflicts.
On the first day of the summit, Ms Mushikivabo insisted on the bloc’s ambition to have a “more united Francophonie in developing common positions” to confirm its “impact in a fragmented world” and offer other multilateral organisations. .
The refusal of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, to take a family photo with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, caused tension between the French-speaking countries at the opening of the summit. It accuses Kinshasa of supporting the M23 rebels in eastern DRC.
Another burning international issue: Ukraine, an OIF observer country, other non-French speakers among its members, partners or observers, such as the United Arab Emirates and Serbia.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who attended the summit on Saturday, issued a “declaration of all members” expressing “a very clear position on the war Russia has launched in Ukraine.”
However, the gulf over the conflict has recently widened among African countries, who lament the Western lack of interest in their crisis, unlike the speed with which they intervened in the war in Ukraine.
At the end of the summit, the Djerba Declaration is to be adopted, which will allow Ms. Mushikiwabo, the sole candidate in the nomination, to be re-elected for a new four-year term.
Before leaving for Paris on Saturday evening, Mr Macron announced France’s 2024 candidacy to replace Tunisia as president of La Francophonie.
During the summit, France announced a 200 million euro loan to Tunisia to support its economy, which is heavily dependent on food imports, particularly from Ukraine and Russia.
Mr Macron, meanwhile, made a bold reference to the political crisis that has rocked the country since the July 2021 coup of President Kais Said and was accused by his opponents of ending a unique democratic experiment. in the Arab world.
Ahead of legislative elections scheduled for mid-December to renew Tunisia’s parliament, whose role has been significantly reduced due to recent constitutional reform, Mr Macron recalled that “fundamental freedoms are linked to democratic exchange in Tunisia”.
Aid to Haiti
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday at the Francophonie summit that he will invest $16.5 million to help stabilize Haiti.
There are also $8 million in funds for rooting out corruption and prosecuting perpetrators of gender-based violence, and for humanitarian assistance provided by the United Nations.
Haiti’s government has called for international military intervention to combat gangs blocking access to fuel and essential supplies amid a worsening cholera epidemic.
While the United States has said Canada would be the ideal leader for such a military intervention, Ottawa has suggested other ways to help Haiti.