Louise Mushikiwabo has been invested for four years at a handover ceremony, at which the press was not invited, with the outbound at the paris headquarters of the OIF, which has 88 member States and governments, representing nearly 300 million French speakers. “We will work in a spirit of solidarity and of permanent dialogue in order to respond effectively to the priorities of our heads of State and government,” said Ms Mushikiwabo, quoted in a brief statement of the OIF.

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The former minister has been elected on the 12th of October at the Summit of la Francophonie in Yerevan after having been adoubée by France, a prime funder of the OIF, and the african Union, presided over by Rwanda. This double support had been because of criticism that had been raised over the candidacy of Rwanda, which replaced French with English as a compulsory language at school, and whose record in the field of Human rights is regularly denounced. It had also resulted in the rallying of Canada and Quebec, which supported, until then, Ms. Jean. In a statement, France declared itself “convinced” that Ms. Mushikiwabo “will give a new impulse to the OIF, an important player in the dissemination of the French language and values of French-speaking in favour of peace, democracy, Human rights and equality between women and men”.

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“I am eager to put my experience and my will to the service of our Francophonie.”

Louise Mushikiwabo, secretary general of the OIF

“The OIF is a pivotal period, and France would like to accompany him in his transformations to come,” says a press release from the French ministry of foreign Affairs. “While the number of French speakers will increase sharply in the coming years, the OIF will challenge and strengthen the position of the French language as the major language of trade and communication and to give a new impetus to as language of business”, writes the ministry. “The Francophonie must do right to all languages that globalization weakens or isolates them, and foster cross-cultural exchanges and multilingualism,” says the text, echoing the policy of the French president Emmanuel Macron, favourable to a defence of the French not opposed to other languages.

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Louise Mushikiwabo is the fourth secretary general of the Francophonie, after Michaëlle Jean (2015-2018), the Senegalese, Abdou Diouf (2003-2014) and the Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1998-2002).

The French language wins thirty million speakers in the world – Look on Figaro Live