Panafrican News Agency

OIF secretary-general defends francophone visa plan

Paris, France (PANA) – The secretary-general of the International francophone organization (OIF), Abdou Diouf, on Wednesday defended the plan to introduce a "Francophone visa" describing it as a "beautiful project" that should not be abandoned despite several obstacles.

Speaking in an interview with PANA in Paris ahead of the 14th Francophone summit scheduled for 12-14 October in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, he said it was meant to facilitate the free movement of people in member countries of the organization.

"The free movement of people is an ancient problem...Each state has demographic, political and economic goals different from those of their neighbouring or other countries," Diouf, who is the former Senegalese president, said.

He urged Francophone member countries not to give up the dream of a "Francophone visa", pointing out that it took Europe time to reach the Schengen accord.

"The Francophone visa is a beautiful project, that shouldn't be abandoned...," Mr Diouf added.

Businessmen, artists and intellectuals intend to petition heads of State and government who will attend the Kinshasa summit on the problems facing the free movement of people in the Francophone space.

Many people who were to attend the World French Language Forum held last July in Quebec, Canada, could not be present because of the lack of visa, despite the invitation letters duly signed by organizers.