Mali has announced it has scrapped French as its official language, doing so more than six decades after it gained independence from France.
A drafted constitution was voted for at a referendum last month. The constitutional court validated the 96.91% approval from voters as the final results.
In the approved document was the proposal to remove French as official language. Haven adopted the new constitution effective last Saturday, French will no longer be the official language for the West African nation.
Under the new provisions, French will still serve as the primary working language, while the 13 national languages spoken within the country will be formally recognised as official languages.
In addition, 70 local languages granted national language status through a decree in 1982, will be retained.
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Since August 2020, Mali has been ruled by a military junta following a decade of political instability, two coups and jihadist insurgencies.
The junta has insisted that a new constitution is essential to rebuilding the country, promising to return to civilian rule with elections in February 2024 after an earlier plan failed.
Interim President Assimi Goita has announced that the implementation of the constitutional framework signals the beginning of the Fourth Republic in the former French colony.
There have been strained relations between France and Mali due to claims of military failures against jihadists and political interference.
In August last year, France withdrew its last troops from Mali ending a nine-year military operation in the country.
Late last year, the military government also ordered all NGOs, including aid groups funded by France, to cease operations in the country.