Panafrican News Agency

'Election of Rwanda's Mushikiwabo will enhance economic development in Francophone Africa'

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - African experts say the economies of French-speaking African countries will improve if Rwandese Louise Mushikiwabo is elected to head the Association of French-speaking nations "La Francophonie" across the world.

In the election, scheduled next week in Armenia, Mushikiwabo is gunning for the office of Secretary-General against incumbent Michaelle Jean of Canada.

Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, is hosting the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) on 11-12 October, while the events organized as part of the summit are scheduled for 7-12 October.

Experts interviewed by PANA in Kigali noted that having secured support from several member countries of La Francophone’s bloc, Mushikiwabo is likely to win the election, replacing the outgoing Canadian Michael Jean, who is also seeking a second term in office.

The Canadian has been criticized for the organization's financial mismanagement and the Rwandan candidate is also being given a chance to be elected when considering the organization's importance in Africa.

This is because three African figures, including Habib Bourgiba (Tunisia), Hamani Diori (Niger) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal) are now considered the fathers of La Francophonie family to which Rwanda joined in 1970 as member. OIF currently unites more than 30 countries from across the globe where the French language is given a major role in public life, education, the arts, law, and the media.

Official statistics indicate that economic francophone accounts for approximately 7% of global GDP and 12% of global exports. It also encompasses 11% of agricultural land worldwide, 6% of the global reserves of energy resources and 14% of incoming foreign direct investment.

During her campaign, Mushikiwabo reiterated the four pledges she made, including efforts to increase the influence of the French language, tackling youth unemployment, increasing the relevance of la Francophonie on a global stage and exchange of good practices.

But some experts believe that with current trends, the most important issue in next week's election is the economy, with other sectors following.

Experts noted that compared to Jean of Canada, Mushikiwabo, as someone who got support from a large number of Francophone family on the African continent, enjoys certain advantages in garnering support from other OIF member countries who have not yet expressed their position in the upcoming election.

One of the senior lecturer in Political Sciences at University of Rwanda told PANA in an exclusive interview that Mushikiwabo appears to be the strong candidate during the upcoming election as her rival still lacks the drive to win.

"The election of Mushikiwabo to head La Francophone represents the African continent belief in its keenness to provide a suitable investment climate with current share of trade with francophone countries increasing at fast pace," the Rwandan researcher told PANA while speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to comment on the outcomes of the election.

Analysts believes that in Mushikiwabo's term at the helm of La Francophone, there will be much change to the organization’s policies that will likely be affecting the African continent.

However, if France can benefit from the favourable developments offered by the "historic" francophone area, it may also have an interest in looking towards other expanding markets.

This is because reports indicate that there are efforts of expanding the francophone area to include the countries it classifies as "francophile", such as Nigeria or Ghana in the African continent.

During the African Union (AU) Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the African Union offically declared its support for Louise Mushikiwabo.
-0- PANA TWA/VAO 6Oct2018