The broadest meaning of this term covers the whole range of actions directed at the promotion of the French language and the values for which it is a vehicle. In the institutional sense - it is given a capital ‘F’ in this case - it relates to the international organisation, the OIF, which brings together the 56 States and governments that have chosen to adhere to its Charter.

Who are the francophones?

This is a fast expanding community.

JPEG - 6.2 kb
Xème sommet de la Francophonie
Ambiance dans les rues
de Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
© F. de La Mure / M.A.E.

French has never been spoken by so many around the world. It counts among the planet’s great languages. Although it is spoken by less people than Chinese or Hindi, it is, alongside English, the only language spoken on all continents.

Why speak French?

In North America, speaking French is an affirmation of cultural identity.

In sub-Saharan Africa, French opens the door to basic education. French is the language of development and modernity in this region.

In Central and Eastern Europe, knowledge of French is associated with a sense of belonging to a united Europe: its three capitals, Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg are francophone cities and in the institutions of the European Union, French is a working language.

French is one of the two UN working languages, one of the two official languages of the International Olympic Committee, the only universal language for the postal services, and the main language of the African Union.

French language is increasingly present on the Web.

Who teaches French?

The agents of the Francophonie, in close consultation with France and the 850,000 teachers of French around the world, estimate demand and extend teaching to reach new audiences.

French lycées and approved educational establishments abroad make a major contribution to the spread of the French language. This unique network of over 440 establishments based in 135 countries welcomes over 250,000 foreign and French students.

JPEG TV5 also provides support for teachers of French with its course “Learning and teaching with TV5”.

TV5 - the international French-language channel

With over 176 million households receiving TV5 on all five continents and 59 satellite links, TV5, ranking second among international TV channels, offers a diverse range of viewpoints on the world around the clock

264 million people speaking French...

1,3 M

World Regions


Partly Francophone


Sub-Saharan Africa 15,5 M 24 M 20,7 M
Maghreb 14, 5 M 19,9 M 8,7 M
Indian Ocean 800 000 3,5 M 3,1 M
North America 8,6 M 3,3 M 4,5 M
Caribbean/Central America 1,6 M 1 M 3 M
South America 120 000 200 000 0,4 M
Middle East 0,5 M 2,4 M
Far East 160 000 0,24 M 3,1 M
Europe 68 M 6,3 M 16,5 M
Oceania 400 000 60 000 0,02 M
Sub-total 110,98 M 59 M 62,6 M
Excluding the francophone area 7,62 M 3,9 M 20 M
Total M M M


Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
28, rue de Bourgogne 75007 PARIS

Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie
13, quai André Citroën 75015 PARIS

Agence universitaire de la Francophonie
4, place de la Sorbonne 75005 PARIS

Association internationale des maires francophones
9, rue des Halles 75001 PARIS

Université Senghor d’Alexandrie
1, place Ahmed Orabi, BP 415
Alexandrie - ÉGYPTE

19, rue Cognac-Jay 75007 PARIS

Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie
235, bd Saint-Germain 75007 PARIS

Forum francophone des affaires
3, place de la Coupole, BP 88,
94223 CHARENTON Cedex

Jeux de la Francophonie
95, avenue de France 75650 PARIS Cedex 13

Union internationale de la presse francophone
3, cité Bergère 75009 PARIS

Service des affaires francophones
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères
57, boulevard des Invalides
75007 PARIS

Dernière modification : 22/07/2009

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