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LES ECHOS

Why French Will Remain The 'Other' Global Language

According to the projections of The International Organization of La Francophone, the language of Molière will retain its status in the next half-century thanks to the demographic growth of Africa.

Shoppers in Kinshasa, DRC
Shoppers in Kinshasa, DRC
Yves Bourdillon

PARIS — Molière would be happy. Fifty years from now, French will be spoken by 477 to 747 million people around the world, according to estimates from the annual report of The International Organization of La Francophonie (OFI), published this month. The forecast is a major jump from the 300 million French speakers today, thanks to the growing population of the African continent, who make up two-thirds of the planet's francophones.

French would thus remain behind English as the second truly global language in the world — spoken on four continents (North America, Europe, Africa, Oceania) — if one takes into account that Chinese is primarily spoken in one country, and that Spanish is practiced on two continents, and that many different languages are spoken within the Arabic federations. Today, French is the sole official language in 14 countries and co-official language in 17 other countries. Its status as the dominant language in education, public administration, media, or trade in some 50 countries provides a significant advantage to businesses within Francophone countries, since they have an advantage over their competitors faced with a language barrier.

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A Canadian protestor in Montreal, dressed as a “handmaid” holds a sign reading “This is no longer fiction” to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Grüss Gott!*

Welcome to Monday, where Volodymyr Zelensky addresses G7 leaders as strikes hit Kyiv, reverberations continue after the end of U.S. federal protection for abortion rights, and Japan asks 37 million citizens to turn the lights off. Meanwhile, for French economic daily Les Échos, Benjamin Quénelle looks at the “inevitable” recession around the corner for Russia, despite its apparent resilience to Western sanctions.

[*Swabian - Germany]

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