The International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), a Paris-based organization of 80 French-speaking countries, and the government of Canada recently announced an agreement under which Canada would contribute approximately USD 10 million to IOF to promote employment for women and youth through entrepreneurship in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to supporting the economic activities of women and youth directly, the objectives of this program include the strengthening of an environment that fosters the creation and development of businesses as well as the improvement of assistance mechanisms provided by local stakeholders. The program will be implemented in five to seven countries to be chosen by IOF and the government of Canada . During 2013 and 2014, Canada reports having allocated USD 1.96 billion in development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa, out of which IOF member countries received USD 460 million . As per IOF’s website, the actions and activities organized by it “respect cultural and linguistic diversity and serve to promote the French language, peace and sustainable development” among its member countries.
By Arpita Sarkar, Research Associate
About International Organization of La Francophonie:
Headquartered in Paris, France, the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), brings together 80 states in which French is spoken as an official language, mother tongue or a language of instruction. As per IOF’s website, the actions and activities organized by it “respect cultural and linguistic diversity and serve to promote the French language, peace and sustainable development” among its member countries.
Sources and Additional Resources:
 Government of Canada Press Release: “Backgrounder – Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Women and Youth in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa,” http://www.international.gc.ca/media/dev/news-communiques/2015/06/08a_bg.aspx?lang=eng
 Government of Canada Press Release: “Employment Promotion Through Entrepreneurship Among Women and Youth in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa,” http://www.international.gc.ca/media/dev/news-communiques/2015/06/08a.aspx?lang=eng
MicroCapital Universe Profile: International Organization of La Francophonie, https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=International+Organization+of+La+Francophonie+%28IOF%29
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