Africa and the francophonie of tomorrow: An attempt to measure the population of the Francophonie from now to 2060

  • Richard Marcoux Professor in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Director, Observatoire démographique et statistique de l’espace francophone (ODSEF), Université Laval.
  • Mamadou Kani Konaté Sociologist, Director of Centre d’appui à la recherche et à la formation (CAREF), Bamako, Mali


Habib Bourgiba, Hamani Diori and Léopold Sédar Senghor are considered the fathers of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), an international community created in the early 1960s that currently unites more than thirty countries where the French language is given a major role in public life, education, the arts, law, the media, etc. Some present the OIF as a neo-colonial organization, while others think of it as protecting the world’s cultural diversity in the face of globalization. Regardless, this assembly of countries around the world has played and should continue to play a significant role in international politics. However, the configurational changes this Francophone community has experienced since its inception in the 1960s are nothing compared with those we predict for the next 50 years. In fact, the most recent demographic trends outlined in the United Nations’ latest population projections are leading to a major reconfiguration of the demographic weight of the countries of the world, particularly in Africa. In this context, we were interested to try a forward-looking exercise based on these most recent projections from the UN that could allow us to define the Francophonie of tomorrow by exploring the evolution of Africa’s demographic weight. In the coming decades, what will be the size and the geographic distribution of the Francophone population? How has Africa’s demographic weight in the espace francophone evolved? And how will it evolve in the future? In this article, we try to better define the demographic outline of tomorrow’s Francophonie by drawing on different definitions of the espace francophone, while highlighting some of the political and social issues of this forward-looking exercise for the Francophone community in general, and for Africa in particular.