Bamako – 19 June 2015 – The Secretariat of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), a specialised institution of the African Union, entrusted with the task of working with the member states of the Union towards creating linguistic equity in Africa so that African languages are used in all domains of society in partnership with the former colonial languages, namely French, English, Portuguese and Spanish, hosted the meeting of its formally constituted Governing Board from 18 to 19 June 2015.
Mr. Assefa Kessito, Chief Head of Office of the Minister, who had been delegated to attend and chair the meeting on behalf of the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Honorable Amin Abdulkadir, the 1st Vice-President of the STC for Culture, Youth and Sports, said during his opening remarks that “language is essential to every aspect of life and, as such, it is a critical factor of identification of any community”. Commending the work of ACALAN on the development of African languages, he pointed out that the former colonial languages should not be used at the expense of African languages.
Also present at the meeting, the Director of Social Affairs, Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun, speaking on behalf of the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission, in which ACALAN is placed, stated that the Governing Board is key to ACALAN’s functioning and, therefore, despite many challenges, financial ones in particular, it should meet regularly. “The fact that ACALAN’s programme budget for 2015 was drawn from the member states” contributions is a clear indication of their commitment to supporting ACALAN’s work”, he added. He thanked the members of the Governing Board for attending the meeting, stating that he hoped they would interrogate ACALAN’s activities, providing the necessary inputs to allow ACALAN to live up to its mandate.
According to the statutes of ACALAN, the Governing Board is expected to meet yearly to, among other tasks: (a) Define the ACALAN policy; (b) Consider and approve the ACALAN Plan of Action, budget, activity reports and audited accounts; (c) Assist ACALAN to mobilize funds; (d) Ensure the general supervision of the management and performance of ACALAN; (e) Ensure the monitoring, control and evaluation of ACALAN activities; and (f) submit reports to the Conference of Ministers of Culture on activities and achievements of ACALAN.
However, due to various constraints, including financial ones and its composition, as originally envisaged in ACALAN’s statutes, the Governing Board has not been able to meet regularly, since 2008, when the interim Governing Board held its meeting. The following were the achievements of the Bamako meeting: (a) revision of the statutes of ACALAN; (b) consideration and endorsement with amendments of its strategic; (c) proposals on budget and staffing; and (d) exploration of funding outlets.