Panafrican News Agency

5oth anniversary of Francophonie: Celebrations reduced due to coronavirus

Niamey, Niger (PANA) - Festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the Francophonie in Niamey on Friday have been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Nigerien Foreign Ministry.

"The aggravation of the coronavirus crisis has forced us to reduce activities and cancel the invitations issued to the heads of state of the founding countries" of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), announced the Minister of Foreign Affairs and chair of the National Commission of the Francophonie, Kalla Ankaraou.

In a message on the anniversary, marked  under the theme 'The legacy of Niamey today', the minister indicated however that the construction of a 50th anniversary monument has been maintained,  and it will stand in the Poudrière district of Niamey.

In addition to the screening of a documentary film and a photo exhibition, lectures, debates and other activities with, of course, a limited audience are on the programme, the chair of the National Commission of La Francophonie said.

On March 13, the government postponed or cancelled all international events planned in the country, including the OIF festivities as part of the prevention measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Niger, which recorded the first case of coronavirus, has taken protective measures including the closure of airports, land borders, schools and recreational facilities.

The forerunner of the OIF, the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) was established in 1970 in Niamey with the founding fathers of the OIF, Nigerien Diori Hamani, Tunisian Habib Bourguiba and  Senegalese Léopold Sédar Senghor.

The OIF brings together some 80 members and observers with around 300 million speakers of French.
-0- PANA SA/IS/MTA/AR 20March2020