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Francophonie games: sport and culture for 3,000 candidates from five continents

27 July 2023 French language
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The 9th “Jeux de la Francophonie” (Francophonie Games) were held in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, largest French-speaking country in the world) from July 28 to August 6 and gathered artists and sports enthusiasts from the five continents representing their country. Every four years, the Games attract more than 3,000 young people from about 40 countries among the 88 Member States and governments of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF, International Organisation of La Francophonie);

In 1987, during the second Francophonie Summit, heads of States and governments decided to create an event putting the spotlights on the French-speaking young. The Francophonie Games were born, with a double focus: Games held alternatively in a North country and a South country, and sport events associated with cultural events.

Francophone solidarity at play

When sport joins culture to showcase the Francophone solidarity, it gives birth to the Francophonie Games, the only international sport and cultural event in French dedicated to the young”. In a few words, the website dedicated to the event sums up the core concept of the Games, which have many objectives, both general and pragmatic, including:

  • the promotion of French language and Francophone cultures;
  • improved relations between States and governments of La Francophonie;
  • participation to peace and development actions, while contributing to international solidarity, in the respect of equality between genres; 
  • the emergence of young talents, both to launch francophone artists on the international scene and to scout sport talents to ensure “the francophone sport next gen” and anticipate on major sport events; 

The Francophonie Games, which were “very soon engaged in favour of sustainable development and major social challenges” ensuring the organisation of “an event that is accessible, respectful of culture diversity, gender equality and the environment”.


Double competition

French language, which is also the Olympic language, is also the official language of the Jeux de la Francophonie. For the organisers, French indeed has “a role and visibility of first importance in the organisation, occurrence, announcement, visual environment and related Games and activities

Even though they have a festive aspect, the Jeux are still a competition in which “young French-speaking individual have the opportunity to outdo themselves, show performance and attain excellence” during each edition. On the sports side, first, sport trials are supervised by international federations. Among the nine sports represented, including some accessible to young people with disabilities: athletics, basketball, football, cycling, judo, wrestling (African and freestyle), table tennis and even Nzango, a traditional dance game from the Congo!

On the culture side, the competitions scheduled for the Jeux de la Francophonie represent “a unique opportunity to appreciate the wealth of Francophone creativity and a fantastic chance for young talent to launch a professional career”.
 The selection of 11 cultural competitions includes singing, dancing, storytelling, puppetry, hip-hop, painting, photography and sculpture exhibitions, as well as literary and digital creation.


Over 40 countries in competition

Indeed, more than 40 countries were chosen to participate in the new edition of the Francophonie Games. They include many countries from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, but also Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East (Lebanon, United Arab Emirates), the Americas (Canada) and European countries (Armenia, Cyprus, Rumania, Luxemburg, Belgium, Switzerland and of course France).

The French delegation will be represented in two sports (wrestling and judo) and eight cultural disciplines (digital creation, painting, sculpture, photography, creative dance, literature, storytelling and song). According to the French Ministry of Sport, the French athletes and artists are hoping to repeat the exploits of their predecessors. Since the first Jeux de la Francophonie in 1989, France has won the most medals (433 in total).

The official ceremonies (opening, closing and winners’ gala) are expected to be broadcast live on international television.


Explore more:

Website dedicated to the Jeux de la Francophonie
Presentation of the Jeux de la Francophonie


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