LIBREVILLE, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Gabon, an ex-colony of France and whose official language is French, wants to introduce English as the second official language, the spokesman for the presidency Alain Claude Bilie By Nze said on Monday.
"It has already been decided to introduce the learning of English from nursery school," Billie By Nze said when he addressed the press in Libreville.
Having obtained independence in August 1960, Gabon has remained faithful to the language of its former colonizer. The country is one of the pillars of the Francophonie, a community that brings together all nations that share the French language.
The spokesman for the presidency said that the decision by the government to introduce English as a second official language does not mean that the country wants to distance itself from France and the Francophonie community.
"You know very well that once you leave the Francophonie space, if you do not speak English, you are almost handicapped," he said while justifying the decision.
"What is most interesting in the issue is the realization that French writers publish some of their materials in English, and that during international conferences, the French diplomats speak in English," he said before noting that today, it's only Africans who still speak in French language alone.
"If the French themselves are moving toward English, why would anyone expect the Gabonese not to?" he said.