Faced with calls to do more to resolve the global crisis, the world’s francophone leaders met in Tunisia on Sunday to address growing instability and popular dissatisfaction in francophone Africa. talked about.
But when Democratic Republic of the Congo Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Leconde refused to be photographed beside Rwandan President Paul Kagame, tensions crept into the International Organization for Francophonie (IOF) meeting itself.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels. M23 rebels have seized territory in the eastern region, displacing tens of thousands of people and fueling tensions in the region.
Louise Mushikiwabo, head of the 88-member IOF bloc, said on Saturday that it should strive to be “a link that can be used to prevent tensions from escalating into conflict.”
However, Alioune Tine, a Senegalese civil society figure, said the IOF had suffered “fraudulent elections, a third mandate (by African leaders) and a military coup in Mali, Guinea, Chad and Burkina Faso. “I’ve shown that I’m completely helpless,” he said.
Delegates to the conference, held on Sunday on the island of Djerba, were also to attend a workshop on youth and women’s entrepreneurship before the economic forum begins.
“The rebellion among young people in French-speaking Africa stems from political disillusionment and dissatisfaction with everyday life,” Mushikiwabo told AFP ahead of the summit.
Founded in 1970, IOF aims to promote the French language, develop economic cooperation and assist in the mediation of international disputes.
Many African leaders have expressed dismay at the Western powers’ swift response to the war in Ukraine, as opposed to the war in their own countries.
Still, Macron said the “declarations of all members” expressed “very clear positions on the war Russia has started in Ukraine”.
President Macron said on Saturday that the IOF should regain its diplomatic role, and Paris later announced that it would aim to take over the IOF’s rotating presidency from 2024.
Senegalese President Mackey Sall and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the leaders attending the two-day rally that ends Sunday.
This year’s conference is a diplomatic boon to Tunisian President Kais Said. His government has faced international criticism since last year’s sweeping seizure of power in the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings.
President Macron said on Saturday that “fundamental freedoms were inherent” in Tunisia’s “democratic achievements”, hinting at concerns about the country’s political future.
https://www.expatica.com/fr/general/french-speaking-bloc-examines-unrest-in-africa-808996/ French-speaking bloc investigates unrest in Africa