French-speaking bloc examines unrest in Africa

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(File photo: Jordan News)
DJERBA, Tunisia — Facing calls to do more to resolve global crises, the world’s French-speaking leaders met in Tunisia Sunday to discuss growing instability and popular discontent in Francophone Africa.اضافة اعلان

The head of the 88-member International Organization of Francophonie (IOF) bloc, Louise Mushikiwabo, said Saturday it should strive to be a “link that can be used to prevent tensions from degenerating into conflicts”.

But Senegalese civil society figure Alioune Tine said the IOF has shown itself to be “totally powerless in the face of fraudulent elections, third mandates (of African leaders), and military coups” in Mali, Guinea, Chad, and Burkina Faso.

On Sunday, delegates at the conference on the island of Djerba were to also attend workshops on the youth and women’s entrepreneurship before an economic forum starts.

Ahead of the summit, Mushikiwabo told AFP that “the defiance that we’re seeing among young people in francophone Africa comes from political disillusionment” and frustrations over daily life.

The IOF, founded in 1970, aims to promote the French language, develop economic cooperation and help mediate international conflicts.

Many African leaders have expressed dismay at the West’s rapid response to the war in Ukraine, in contrast to wars in their own countries.

Macron said Saturday that the IOF should reclaim its diplomatic role, and Paris later announced that it would seek to take on the organization’s rotating presidency from 2024.

This year’s conference is a diplomatic boon for Tunisian President Kais Saied, whose government has faced international criticism since a sweeping power grab last year in the only democracy to have emerged from the Arab Spring uprisings.

Macron on Saturday alluded to concerns over the country’s political future, saying that “fundamental freedoms were intrinsic” to Tunisia’s “democratic achievements”.

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