May 21, 2024


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Is France paying for the Sahara?

Is France paying for the Sahara?

Emmanuel Macron and Abdelmadjid Debon

Air Algeria has decided to abandon French and accept Arabic and English. The linguistic shift occurred against the backdrop of uneasy tension between Algiers and Paris due to France's recognition of the economic Moroccan nature of the Sahara.

Air Algérie, Algeria's national airline, announced an important initiative: Arabicizing all its official communications and replacing French with English. The decision, aimed at affirming national identity and complying with the Algerian constitution, which makes Arabic the country's official language, marks an important linguistic turning point for the institution.

In addition to the identity dimension, this choice is part of a desire to adapt to a globalized world where English is establishing itself as the language of international communication. Staff trained in English should facilitate exchanges with foreign partners and contribute to better integration of Air Algérie in the international scene.

A non-unanimous decision

However, the decision is not unsurprising in evoking mixed reactions. Some see it as a necessary move to affirm Algerian identity and promote the Arabic language, while others fear the marginalization of the country's historically important language, French. The concrete impact of this move remains to be seen in French use within Air Algiers.

If English appears to play an increasing role, French can retain a prominent place in internal communication and relationships with customers. However, Air Algeria's decision to adopt Arabic and English as official languages ​​comes at an unusual time. Although Algiers had already announced the color.

Indeed, at the height of tensions between Paris and Algiers, the Algerian authorities decided to adopt English from primary school. Algiers reasoned that English was the most widely spoken language and best met the teaching needs. However, the recent position of France, which recognized the economic Moroccan nature of the Sahara, could justify this new option imposed on the Algerian national entity.

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