FREDERICTON (GNB) – The economy, youth, and education are among the main topics that New Brunswick plans to raise at the 14th Francophonie summit, to be held in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, from Oct. 12 to 14.

"Training, education and innovation are at the core of the social and economic development of our populations," said Premier David Alward in a message to summit participants. "The vitality of the French language and the advancement of democracy depend first and foremost on the access that our young people have to quality education systems."

The theme of the summit is La Francophonie, Environmental and Economic Issues Facing Global Governance.

"The development of an economic strategy for La Francophonie is important for New Brunswick, Canada and all participating countries," Alward said. "This project will involve the public and private sectors, as well as civil society in the growth of employment and an innovative economy."

The New Brunswick delegation will also include Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud, who is minister of economic development and minister responsible for La Francophonie, as well as representatives from intergovernmental affairs belonging to the Executive Council Office. The delegation will take part in a meeting of the permanent council of La Francophonie, the ministerial conference of La Francophonie as well as the conference of heads of state and government.

New Brunswick will participate in the Village de la Francophonie to showcase the Acadian community and the province's assets in terms of the economy, tourism, education and occupational training.

New Brunswick also plans to take this opportunity to support the International Organization of La Francophonie in its efforts to resolve conflicts and foster progress on democracy and human rights, especially those of children.

Robichaud said La Francophonie must encourage entrepreneurship among young people and help them obtain the education and training they need to enter the labour market and contribute to the economy.

"La Francophonie must do its part for the economic and employment development of our countries by promoting equal access to digital technologies and establishing a digital forum where economic players and powers can network and share ideas," added Robichaud.

This year marks New Brunswick's 35th year of participation in the proceedings of La Francophonie, which comprises 75 French-speaking member states and governments. La Francophonie is the only international institution to give New Brunswick the status of a participating government.