Monday, June 07, 2010
The governments of Portugal and the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville) signed an agreement on Friday in Lisbon whereby Portuguese will be taught in Congolese schools beginning in 2011.
The Congo, which has French as its official language, is close to the two ex-Portuguese colonies of Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe, and the three countries belong to the same economic community, the Economic Community of African States.
"We intend to closen relations with our neighbours", explained Basil Ikoubéké, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Congo. According to him, the teaching of Portuguese will be experimental in the beginning and the first to learn the language will be Congolese diplomats. The Portuguese government will send teachers to the country.
The neogiator of the accord from the Portuguese side, Domingos Alvim, said that the teaching of Portuguese should begin in September of the coming year, but the details on that still need to be worked out.
At the moment Portuguese is already being learned in African countries where it is not an official language. This is the case with Senegal, Namibia, Swaziland, Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa.