Madrid, 15th December 2020. The Director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, and the President of the Women for Africa Foundation, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, signed this morning a collaboration agreement to promote Spanish and its culture in Africa through the Cervantes Centre in Dakar (Senegal), which will absorb the current Classroom in the capital and which will be inaugurated in 2021.
According to the agreement signed, the Cervantes Institute will cede the use of some spaces in the new centre in Dakar to the Foundation, so that the latter can carry out activities aimed at female leadership, where spanish is used as an instrument of development and equality in a country that has 350,000 spanish students.
García Montero stressed that the new centre in Dakar is the “most exciting project” of the Cervantes Institute in recent years and stressed that its opening is “very good news” after a decade of crisis.
In this sense, he assured that it will serve to consolidate the network of Cervantes centres because it is located in a “decisive point for the development of the world, culture and diplomacy”. “Culture is what creates human links and facilitates human solutions”, he also defended.
The director pointed out that the Cervantes Institute has implemented the cultural program “En femenino” and said that it’s “fundamental” to strengthen activities and agreements such as this that have an impact on women’s leadership.
For her part, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega stressed that the agreement signed reflects “a long-held dream” of many years, such as having a space of their own dedicated to African women.
The President stressed that women are a “fundamental vector of progress on the continent”. For this reason, she stated that “Spanish must be a guiding instrument for equality and must serve to implement the human rights of this group”.
Among the lines of work that the non-profit organisation will implement with the collaboration of the Cervantes Institute is the creation of the school for female translators and interpreters AFRICA CON Ñ, an initiative that will be strengthened by the progressive presence of Spanish companies and institutions on the continent.
The organisation will also develop the “Ellas lideran en español” (“They lead in Spanish”) program in which conferences will be given by Spanish-speaking women, who are a reference point in different areas of society and who can inspire African women.
Another of the proposals is to open a virtual library of Spanish language and literature written by women, a teaching and training resource available to the Spanish departments of universities, students and anyone interested in this language.
Africa, a strategic enclave for Spanish
Finally, the Foundation will offer a program of grants for postgraduate studies aimed at African women, which will emphasise studies in philology, Spanish literature or the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language.
This collaboration agreement is part of the general action protocol signed by both institutions on 3 April 2018, through which they expressed their desire to cooperate in carrying out various educational, artistic and cultural activities in Africa and Spain.
Since 2010, Senegal has had an Aula Cervantes, where classroom courses, teacher training, conferences, lectures, round tables and language certification exams are held, among other activities.
Specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa has more than one and a half million students of Spanish, making it the third largest region in the world in terms of the number of students, with 6.5% of all people learning the language.