The African Union’s Commissioner (AUC) for Social Affairs, Amira El Fadil, has expressed his department’s commitment to developing a ‘writing form’ for the continent’s languages for social integration and development.
Commissioner El Fadil explained that the AU’s commitment comes against the backdrop of its continued support for the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), an organization entrusted with the task of developing and promoting African languages so that they can be used in all domains of the society in partnership with inherited colonial languages.
Commissioner El Fadil, who spoke at the just ended statutory meeting of the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of ACALAN in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, added that one of the visions of the AU 2063 agenda is to make sure that the working languages of the organization and all its institutions should be African languages in order to bring that search for viable development strategies that would change the lives of the African people for the better.
“This is a huge task, but it is possible as ACALAN and its collaborating partners continue to discover new ways on a daily basis on how our languages can be developed and become a pride for future generations of the continent so that the younger generations can recognize the socio-cultural, cognitive, and the economic value of African languages.
“We will work with you and do everything possible to empower ACALAN with the necessary resources in order to make sure that African languages have writing forms to be taught in secondary schools and universities so that they become official media of communication in their countries or sub-region. Our languages are the expressions of our identity, culture, and heritage,” he said.
Commissioner Fadil explained that the value of a language is not just created; therefore, it is about time that African countries give more support to ACALAN for the promotion and development of African languages.
He argued that most African languages can have market value, if they are used from low to high functions, thus escaping from the dominance and hegemony of English.
“This is possible to achieve if African countries start to use the written languages that have been developed by ACALAN for leaning and in everyday life, including high functions. The good news is that most of these languages are cross-border languages – languages that are spoken in more three countries, which makes it possible to achieve.
“We will do everything possible to assist ACALAN and all its statutory organs to put in their possible best in the performance of their duties to make sure the priorities set for African languages in AU Vision 2063 is realized,” AUC Fadil said.
Also speaking, Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha, acting Executive Secretary of ACALAN, said that the organization will soon start making available copies of African languages that already have ‘writing forms’ developed by them.
“Language development is inevitably one of the main factors of the sustainable development of a people; therefore, the development of African languages as the pillar of African cultures is an indispensable factor of African integration and development,” he said, adding that the use of African languages will have a direct impact on human development and consequently, social transformation.”