The Year of African Languages (YOAL)





The 20th of last June, the YOAL has been officially launched at the African Union’s  headquarters in Addis-Ababa by the Ethiopian Vice Prime Minister, on his sides the President of the African Union Commission and his collaborators, and in presence of the diplomatic corps and the partners of the African Union. The YOAL is a commemoration of the 20th Year Anniversary of the Language Plan of Action for Africa (ILPAA).

  • We should recall that it aims at promoting and celebrating the African languages.The activities are geared towards a renewed commitment to ILPAA, high visibility for it, and practical steps to increase the use of African languages in a wider range of domains, particularly education.
  • Specific activities include the following:
    1. Regional symposia in West, Central, North, East and Southern Africa. The first symposium was held at Bamako in May 2006 ;
    2. Intensification of action on core projects and their launching  (Interpretation and Translation, Terminology, Stories Across Africa, Master’s/Ph.D programme in African languages);
    3. Establishment of ACALAN’s structures as envisaged in the Statutes (Governing Board, Scientific and Technical Committee, Language Commissions, Assembly of Academicians);
    4. National conference in each country on YOAL;
    5. International conference to evaluate the progress made in the course of the year;
    6. Book Fair for African literature in Africa and the Diaspora;
    7. Workshops on reading materials production and encouragement of reading and writing habits;
    8. Publicity: Radio (in particular, community radios), TV, Song for YOAL, jingles, competitions, symbolic actions by political leaders in using African languages at national and local events;
    9. Sustainable Fund for African Language Development;
  • Strategies: Bottom-up, activities at different levels (local, national, regional, continental, and Diaspora), involving government, non-government, civil society organizations, global and partner associations, UNESCO, and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).
  • Specific activities include the following.

- Outcomes:

* Greater attention to language policies (formulation, revision, refinement) and their implementation;

* Revalorization of African languages, especially their use as languages of instruction in schools and as working languages at local and national levels.

Launched on the 20th of June 2006, the YOAL will end in July 2007. To learn more about the YOAL, you can download here its programme.  


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