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Burkina Faso to abandon French as official language

The Council of Ministers has approved the move in an amendment to the constitution

An amendment to Burkina Faso’s constitution granting local languages official status, while dropping French and making it a working language, was approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

The minister of justice and human rights, Edasso Rodrigue Bayala, announced the changes regarding the status of the former French colony’s languages.

“In this draft text, we must note the institutionalization of national languages as official languages while French remains a working language,” Bayala explained. 

The draft contains reforms that include expanding the Constitutional Council’s powers, and the admission of non-magistrates to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the minister said. This will allow the state to distance itself from its colonial legacy, while strengthening its sovereignty and cultural identity, according to La Nouvelle Tribune.

According to Bayala, the decision is part of a project to update the constitution of the military authorities, which took control following a coup d’état in late September 2022. In August this year, they renounced the country’s double taxation agreement with France.

READ MORE: African states cancel agreements with France

On July 22, Mali also passed a new constitution giving the country’s local languages official status, while dropping French as an official language. Morocco is currently undergoing education reforms that favor the use of English, and Algeria has made Arabic its official language, with French gradually being replaced.

December 07, 2023 at 07:11PM

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