By Aji Fatou Faal
Lawmakers at the National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously considered and ratified the motion for The Gambia to join the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) in an observer capacity.
Tabling the motion, Vice President Ousainu Darboe, said the geographical position of The Gambia being surrounded by Senegal in the part of the continent “where the heart of the Francophonie throbs, is sufficient reason for their request.
“Gambians are exposed to the Francophone reality in their daily activities – within their families, neighbourhood, commerce et cetera, and more importantly through regional integration and international collaboration”.
He further stated that the French language is used by more than twenty per cent of Gambians and that it was time “this reality is reinforced” by giving The Gambia a well-stated political position among other states using the French language and to promote linguistic and cultural diversity.
“I am sure you are already aware of government’s ambition to ensure access to quality education by all, in order to increase our human resource capacities at both national and international levels. Within this ambition, the French language is given a pride of place, as one of the tools of learning and enhancing the academic qualifications and professional skills that The Gambia needs for the achievement of its socio-economic development agenda,” he revealed.
VP Darboe said OIF is committed to democracy, conflict prevention, rule of law and human rights adding that these are the same core values recognised by his government, which they would continue to promote and uphold. He said the government’s bid for Francophonie membership as an observer is in line with the constitution of The Gambia.
The parliamentarians gave their blessings to the motion by raising their voices in the debate before adopting it.