Whether in Indochina or North Africa or anywhere else, little was left for the local languages, which were expected to be … obliterated by French. (Alexandre, P. ‘Francophonie: The French and Africa’, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1969, p. 119)

If one observes relationships between former French colonies, particularly the states of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with states of West Africa, ties seem to be not particularly well maintained. Whereas, former British colonies like Burma/Myanmar and Zimbabwe are actively pursing engagement with one another!

There are obvious reasons why there are not so many bilateral arrangements between these former French colonial regions. Primarily I feel these reasons would include the tyranny of distance and a shared history that would be difficult to justify as positive re-enforcement. However, in the ‘information age’, the Internet is becoming all the more accessible. In many West African states, French is an official language. How many now continue with French in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam?

Vietnam maintains embassies in Algeria, Angola and Morocco, however only the Vietnamese embassy site for Morocco has a French language option. Perhaps this option is for Parisians entering the cultural tourism vogue? Casablanca to Hanoi anyone? Vietnam does not have embassies for Francophone states further south like Cameroon or central like Mali. Presumably the embassies in the north would provide regional service. Cambodia and Laos don’t have embassy or consular level relations with any Francophone African states.

With regards to the spread of the Internet, perhaps the ‘tyranny of distance’ will become the ‘tyranny of the time zone’? Despite these obstacles, national unification and socio-economic development are high priorities for all states concerned. Sharing experience would be beneficial. Could we see more cooperation between these states?

The Frog is a reincarnation of former commentator Grasshopper who was unfortunately squashed by Martino Ray en route to cultivating a better-looking resumé.