Gambia’s official language is English; however, French has been an important
partner in the country’s development endeavours. Since The Gambia made an
application for observer status at the International Organisation of La
Francophonie in 2010, the relationship between the two countries has ever been
a cordial one.
As The Gambia joined the rest of the international community to observe the International Francophone Week, the French ambassador to Senegal and The Gambia, His Excellency Hon. Christophe Bigot has spoken highly of the relationship that binds Banjul and Paris.
International Francophonie Day is observed within the International Organisation of La Francophonie’s 77 member states every March 20 to celebrate the French language and Francophone culture. Today, there are over 369 million French speakers on Earth.
Created in 1988, the date celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on 20 March 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organisation of La Francophonie. The celebration of the Week, mainly coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, highlights the role and use of the spoken word in society.
Over 500 bookstores, dozens of associations, libraries, schools, universities, museums, theaters as well as hospitals in various cities hosts events in honour of the week.
It could be recalled that The Gambia and France resumed bilateral cooperation in 1997, after a long hiatus following the coup d’état in 1994. The cultural, scientific, technical and economic cooperation agreement was signed on 24 February 1998. This cooperation mainly aims to promote bilingualism in Gambia with a view to regional integration.
Since then, The Gambia government has been committed to learning the French language and as a working tool, scholarship and object of its change, partnership and culture.
As rightly stated by Dr. Barry they are hosting the country’s funds soon to allow Gambians with some knowledge in French and would like to seek for scholarship in France from bachelors to PhD.
French, as widely attested to is a language of cooperation, collaboration and sharing of cultural and language diversity.
“Nobody can predict the future. You just have to give your all to the relationship you’re in and do your best to take care of your partner, communicate and give them every last drop of love you have. I think one of the most important things in a relationship is caring for your significant other through good times and bad.”