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Francophonie en Afrique subsaharienne: dépendance postcoloniale ou autodétermination ?

Kohnert, Dirk (2022): Francophonie en Afrique subsaharienne: dépendance postcoloniale ou autodétermination ?

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Africa is today the most important part of the Francophonie. French is an official or co-official language along with other languages in 21 African countries, all in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Since the end of colonialism and Cold War politics, changes in the Francophonie have been driven largely by external factors, such as a drive to combat Anglo-American cultural hegemony. Continuities, on the other hand, are mainly due to France's historical affinity with Africa, its view of its place in the world and its understanding of the role of the state. The International Organization of Francophonie (OIF) defends the common interests of the Francophone area and imposes a common vision for reform, particularly in the area of terms of trade. However, the demographic future of Francophonie will play out more and more in southern countries, especially in Africa. In 2010, half of all Francophones worldwide lived in Africa. It is expected that by 2060 almost 84 % of the French-speaking population will live in Africa. Francophonie is mainly driven by the Francophone power elite in, both France and Africa, and the infamous Françafrique patronage network. Both propagate the universality of French as a language, including Pidgin French, culture and way of life. Although the fate of African Francophonie is still determined by the North, the high mobility of the African population, driven by increasing urbanization, means that multilingualism, e.g. the simultaneous use of French and African languages, is 'deterritorialized'. Therefore, it would be crucial to solve the problem of the interface between French and African languages and to identify which other languages could replace French and in which areas this would be most desirable. Apart from that, there are promising perspectives for a self-determined development in the area of the francophone culture of the SSA. The African film industry, literature and religion could make it possible to find a new African rationality, a new way of defining oneself and hoping for a better future, free from the socio-economic inequalities that characterize the francophone post-colony despite globalization. Thus, a viable, dynamic and truly African culture in Francophone SSA could equal and even surpass the rival ‘Commonwealth culture’. Although both European colonial powers, Great Britain and France, conquered substantial geographic spaces in SSA, using language as a means of control, the resulting networks, the Commonwealth and Francophonie are quite different.

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