Remarks made in Brazzaville, 14th December 2001 (…) For me, you must abandon French, choose English - I may be shocking you. Why, you might wonder? Because English is the planetary language of today. Besides, especially in countries colonized by France, it is a slap in the face to the colonists of the past to abandon their language and choose English. They are so proud that the French have left some traces here, like the church and the school, which also use the French language.
Your children in villages must learn the traditional African languages you have, and English; throw away French, into the trash can... French will enable you to talk to only very few people; there are 1% of French people on Earth! There are 2% of French speakers! There are 70% of English speakers and people who can speak English more or less. With English, you can go everywhere, I can go everywhere. I go to Russia. I go to China, I go to Japan and, with this language, I communicate with the whole world. With French, you get Belgium, Switzerland... and the French, it’s only 2% of the world population; besides, this language is difficult to learn. Teach English to your children, and you will open up their universe. By teaching them French, you open them to only 2% of the world population - the choice is quickly made.