International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF)

Created in 1970 in Niamey, the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) today comprises 88 states, full members, associate members and observers, all of which share the French language.

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Belgium, as a founding member of the organisation, has two seats, these being Federal Belgium and the French Community, due to the division of competences between the federal level and the level of its federated entities.

The OIF, headquartered in Paris, also has six regional offices and four permanent delegations:

  • with the United Nations in New York and Geneva;
  • with the European Union in Brussels;
  • with the African Union in Addis Abeba.

Every two years, a Francophonie summit brings together the Heads of State and Government of the member countries to define the political direction and the broad guidelines for cooperation. The organisation is under the authority of a Secretary-General for La Francophonie, appointed for a four-year term. As of 1 January 2019, the incumbent is Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda.

The OIF helps to promote peace, democracy, human rights, gender equality, and French in the context of multilingualism and cultural diversity. The OIF is known for its election observation missions and its annual Francophone cultural days. The organisation is also presenting itself more and more actively at a political level through its special envoys and mediation missions in Francophone countries in conflict.

Moreover, the OIF is characterised by the diversity of its "bodies". There are two sub-bodies:

It also involves the four direct actors of La Francophonie in its activities:

La Francophonie also works via two permanent ministerial conferences, these being the Conference of Ministers of Education of the States and Governments of La Francophonie (CONFEMEN) and the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sport of La Francophonie (CONFEJES). In addition, there is the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF, Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie), which has an advisory role.

La Francophonie also organises major international events involving member states and governments, such as the Francophonie Games. The Games arose from the desire of Heads of State and Government that share the French language to create solidarity among French-speaking youth, and offer an opportunity for encounters, enrichment and collective stimulation, both in culture and in sport. The International Games Committee was set up in 1989 by the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sport and has been a subsidiary body of the OIF since 2006.