Explaining that Ghana was surrounded by French-speaking countries and that most ECOWAS countries had French as their official language, Dr. Opoku stressed that strategically, it was in Ghana’s interests to pursue the teaching and learning of French to enable the country benefit more from the West African sub-region.
The Minister was speaking at a ceremony in Paris, France, where a linguistic pact was signed between Ghana and the International Organisation of the Francophonie for improved technical support and capacity building for the teaching and learning of French in Ghana.
In attendance was Ghana’s Ambassador to France, H.E. Anna Bossman, other members of the Diplomatic Corps, and the leadership of the organisation. The Ghanaian delegation also included officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Francophonie is a gathering of French-speaking countries around the world, whose objectives are to promote peace and good governance, to support education, training and research, and to promote the French language and cultural diversity.
Dr. Prempeh further pointed to an insufficient number of French teachers and a limited number of learning and teaching materials as the main challenges facing government in pursuit of its policy on the French language.
“Ghana deeply appreciates the sterling work being done by this organisation in its goals…We share in these aims and values, and look forward to playing an important role in their realisation.
“It is my conviction that the signing of this pact will pose a significant landmark in our effort to build bridges between the people of Ghana and the people of the larger community of Francophones”, Dr. Prempeh stated.
Dr. Prempeh noted in his remarks that in September 2006 in Bucharest, Romania, Ghana acceded to the Francophonie as an associate member to contribute to the attainment of the noble goals the organisation set for itself. Our accession was steered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was then Ghana’s Foreign Minister.
He outlined some of the government’s policies in promoting French, which include introduction of French in a number of professional and technical-oriented universities, provision of resources in public libraries to enable learning of French with a degree of autonomy, celebration by the University of Ghana of Francophonie Day with seminars and conferences to create awareness of the language, and initial talks with French TV stations to extend their broadcasting services to Ghana.