World leaders expected in Tunisia for 18th Francophonie Summit

Macron and Trudeau wave to the crowd on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 6, 2018. /Reuters Photo
FILE: France President Emmanuel Macron and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wave to the crowd on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 6, 2018. /Reuters Photo

World leaders are expected to start arriving in Tunisia’s southern island of Djerba for the 18th Francophonie Summit, which will be held from November 19-20.

The summit, usually held once every two years, was initially scheduled to be hosted in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It brings together 54 member states, 7 associated countries and 27 with observer status from around the world.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Connectivity in diversity – the digital vector of development and solidarity in the French-speaking world.”

According to media reports, Tunisian President Kais Saied opted to hold the summit in Djerba, a UNESCO world heritage candidate city that is home to Tunisia’s annual El Ghriba festival, rather than the capital Tunis to drive home his decentralization plans and development agenda.

Some of the leaders that have already confirmed attendance include French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan among many others.

Ramkalawan said he expects the Summit to constitute a turning point in the history of La Francophonie and a qualitative leap in the Francophone project. he noted that he expects it deals with the theme that meets the requirements and aspirations for development, employability and prosperity.

The Francophonie’s mission includes: promoting the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity; promoting peace, democracy and human rights; supporting education, training, higher education and research; and fostering economic cooperation to bolster sustainable development.