The African Union (AU) has launched 2006 as the Year of African Languages and inaugurated the Interim Governing Board of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN).
Speaking at the launching ceremony held at the AU Conference Hall yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Addisu Legesse said: "It is a high time to renew our commitment to nurture the growth and development of African languages."
Addisu, who is also Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the inauguration of ACALAN creates suitable conditions to enhance and strengthen the capability of African states to promote African languages as viable tools of nations building peace and development. "I have no doubt that we will all do whatever is necessary in this connection," he added.
He also affirmed Ethiopia's commitment to provide the necessary support within the limits of its capacity to implement the Languages Plan of Action endorsed by the AU Khartoum Summit.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission Prof. Alpha Oumar Konaré on his part said that the development of African indigenous languages has been hampered by the adverse effects of colonialism.
The Chairperson also said that the inauguration is a turning-point in strengthening researches and studies regarding these languages.
"In this regard," he said, "the Academy will help all African governments to come up with proper language policies to preserve, promote and develop local languages."
Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and other invited guests attended the launching ceremony.