Francophonie grapples with economic challenges

Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The International Francophonie Organisation (OIF), a fervent advocate of cultural and linguistic diversity is, however, a poor economic bloc, hence the 10th summit devoted to sustainable development is an opportunity to explore ways and means to face economic challenges.
Only five out of the 51 OIF member countries OIF belong to the prestigious Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - France, Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium.
OIF members such as Burkina Faso, Burundi, Niger, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Cape Verde rank at the bottom of the development index as established by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
France remains by far the biggest contributor to the organisation's 2005 budget with 11.
4 million euro, followed by Quebec (Canada) with a 7.
8 million euro.
The average schooling rate in OIF member countries is below 50 per cent, coupled with poor communication infrastructure and very low health coverage.
There is also a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, cholera, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis.
The fight against these scourges calls for considerable funding, which these countries do not have.
Furthermore, some 15 OIF member countries are facing serious socio-political crises.
All these difficulties undermine efforts to build a prosperous and harmonious French-speaking economic space.
Cote d'Ivoire, the engine of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) caused a decline in economic growth in the sub-region.
Central African and Great Lakes countries are dogged with armed conflicts, which jeopardise development.
On Friday and Saturday in Ouagadougou, the leaders of the Francophonie space plan to work out a 10-year Sustainable Development Plan.
Microfinancing, funding of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Global Solidarity Fund (FMS) is also high on the summit agenda.

26 november 2004 23:56:00




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