Ministers okay use of French as the third official language for East Africa

use of French as third official language

The Council of Ministers has agreed to consider French as a third official language to be used within the East African Community after English and Kiswahili.

The decision was made under Article 137 of the proposed Amendment of the official languages of the Community during the 41st meeting of the Ordinary Council of Ministers held in Arusha, Tanzania at the East African Community Headquarters from 22-29 November 2021.

The Council is the policy-making organ of the Community charged with, among others the responsibility of keeping under constant review the progress of implementation of the programs and activities of the Community.

Rebecca Kadaga Alitwala, the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and also Minister of East African Community Affairs on Thursday told journalists in Kampala that the introduction of French as an official language brings various benefits to the country that will include job opportunities among others.

Kadaga disclosed the Government through the Ministry of Education and Sports will have to invest in the teaching of French by designing appropriate policy frameworks to enable it to be taught and examined in school as a compulsory subject.

During the same meeting, the Council also endorsed the application of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join the East African Community. Currently, French is widely spoken in DRC and neighboring Rwanda and Burundi.

However, the English language shall remain the official language of the Court under Article 46 while Kiswahili shall be developed as the lingua franca of the Community. Currently, the community is composed of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.

During the meeting, the Council also considered the draft EAC Standardization Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SACA) Bill, 2021, principles for EAC securities, market legal, and regulatory framework.

They also adopted the development of regional laws on the various aspects of the EAC common market protocol, regional industry value addition (RIVA) in selected value chains such as fruits and vegetables; leather, and herbal medicine.

The Council of Ministers further adopted the protocol on tourism and wildlife management, the EAC regional trade policy among others.


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