The African Academy of Languages of the African Union (ACALAN-AU) is organising a workshop on national language policy, in Banjul, The Gambia, on 21 and 22, December 2022.
Expected at the event are representatives of several organs, agencies, institutions and organisation dealing with languages and cultures, both governmental and nongovernmental, as well as representatives of agencies of the African Union Commission (AUC) and other stakeholders.
The workshop is expected to be held in forms of plenary, discussions, questions and answers, with the aim of developing an action plan that could aid the revision of the African Union’s Language Plan of Action for Africa (LPAA), developed in 1984 by the OAU Inter-African Bureau of Languages (OAU-IBL) and revised in 2006.
One of the major objectives of the LPAA is that “each member state of the African Union should develop vigorous and well-articulated language policies” to ensure that African languages, by appropriate legal provision and practical promotion, assume their rightful role in the development programmes of member states.
The revision of the LPAA, will take into account the Dar es Salaam Framework for Action by including the Kiswahili continental implementation plan, as a collective action to recognise Kiswahili as a Working Language of the African Union and a Language of Wider Communication in Africa, which is expected to be implemented by July 2023.
The heads of state and government of the member states of the African Union, earlier this year, adopted the Dar es Salaam Framework for Action, to make Kiswahili a Working Language of the African Union and a Language of Wider Communication in Africa, through the concerted efforts of ACALAN and its partner institutions.
According to the Executive Secretary of ACALAN, Dr Lang Fafa Dampha, the workshop, will among other things, determine the conditions and criteria for award of financial support to member states of the African Union for the development of language policies in accordance with the provisions of the revised Language Plan of Action for Africa, in a bid to promote mass mobilisation, information flow to the grassroots, and hence effective and efficient participation of the majority of the African population that uses uniquely or essentially African languages in the activities of their daily lives. It is also a way of promoting democracy, equitable access to national resources, and ensuring that all languages within the boundaries of member states of the African Union are recognised and accepted as a source of mutual enrichment, to consequently serve as a factor of African integration and sustainable socioeconomic development.
It is expected that at the end of the workshop, a Pan-African Study Group on Research, Development and Reevaluation of Language Policies for African Union member states will be set up, while all stakeholders, across the continent, in the domain of languages will be mobilised to take part in the revision of the Language Plan of Action for Africa.
The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) as the African Union’s specialised continental language agency, is entrusted with the task of overseeing the implementation of the Language Plan of Action for Africa (LPAA), in addition to its broad mandate of developing and promoting African languages as a factor of African integration and development.
Member states and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate online through the livestreaming of this all-important event at www.acalan.tv and on zoom.