Emmanuel Macron the young and enthusiastic French president has embarked on a project to make French great again and his case study is Africa.
The 40year old Macron made bold predictions that French will be the most spoken language in Africa last November while on a state visit in Burkina Faso.
“To refuse the French language in order to make English fashionable on the African continent is to be blind to the future,” he declared.
“If we go about it right, French will be the first language in Africa and maybe even the world in the coming decades!” he boldly predicted.
President Macron seems to base his prediction on the prism of a study from The International Francophonie Organization which forecast that, due to explosive population growth in Africa, over one billion people will live in French-speaking countries by 2065, second only to countries that speak English.
The top 5 most spoken languages in Africa are
English with over 700 million speakers,
- Arabic with more than 100 million speakers,
- Swahili with more than 100 million speakers,
- French with more than 90 million speakers and
- Hausa with over 50 million speakers
Judging hypothetically from the above statistics, Macron reasons that by 2065 the population of the French-speaking countries in Africa must have increased to measure with that of English speaking population.
There are 22 French speaking countries in Africa which include:
Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Republic), Democratic Republic of Congo (D. R. C), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia,
After the Rwandan genocide, the Anglophone Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the Francophone Hutu regime and took over power in 1994. The government immediately made English an official language in Rwanda, alongside French and the indigenous Kinyarwanda.
In 2008 the Rwandan Government announced it was dropping French as an official language of instruction thereby prioritizing the English language
The demise of French enculturation may even become indispensable if popular demands to disengage francophone Africa from the French zone takes concrete progress.
Young Macron is definitely aware of this and is bent on stiffening the France Africa relations (France-Afrique) through linguistic diplomacy.