As this meeting is strongly linked with some of ITH Section activities and that ITH Section contributed to the publication of the report, we included it here while it hasn’t been co-organized by the section. The presentation below has been extracted from the report.
The Intergovernmental Conference on Language Policies in Africa, which was held in Harare (Zimbabwe) from 17 - 21 March 1997, was the first meeting of its kind involving language specialists attending as governmental experts and doing the preparatory work for and advising relevant government ministers from their countries who were also attending the same conference. This conference has had far greater impact than any of the previous ones on language issues in Africa, partly because of this combination within official delegations at such a high level of representation from almost all the countries on the continent, and partly because the whole conference was well focussed on coming up with something concrete at the end of the day.
All African Member States of UNESCO were invited to the conference and altogether 51 out of 54 African countries attended as follows: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
At the special invitation of UNESCO, India and Switzerland also sent delegates to the conference, while France, Germany and the United Kingdom sent official observers, as did five intergovernmental or international organisations (OAU, ACCT, AVA, British Council and UNESCO itself.).
The general aim of the Intergovernmental Conference on Language Policies in Africa (ICLPA) was to draw up strategies and define prospects for the political and technical management of the African linguistic context, with the main outcome expected being a mutually agreed reference ftamework to be used by each African state to set out a clear and comprehensive national language policy indicating precisely the statuses and functions of the languages in use and the measures proposed to implement that policy.
Final report (English)
See also the dedicated page on African Languages on Göteborg University website.