This book examines some of the problems and opportunities facing French-speaking countries in the world in the mid-1990s. After considering the development of French influence and presence outside France, it investigates the nature and diversity of countries and areas of the world where French is spoken. 'Francophonie' can be defined in three ways: by the use of the French language; by membership of a formal, organised community of nations; or by the acceptance and promotion of a set of values and beliefs. The problems facing Francophonie in all three senses are discussed next: the identity and culture associated with French, threats from English and other languages, the opinion of many that France's continuing overseas possessions are little more than the world's last colonies, the disparity between North and South in economic terms, and the as yet unresolved problem of the ideal organisational structure for Francophonie. In a final section are reviewed opportunities open to Francophonie in three different parts of the globe: Africa, the Far East and Europe. Conclusions examine the interdependence of four factors: language, politics, economics and cultural values. The book is divided into three parts: The development and distribution of Francophonie, problems, opportunities, and is supported by a statistical appendix. The book is intended to make up-to-date information and opinion about Francophonie accessible to English-speaking readers interested in a range of disciplines: French studies, comparative international studies, sociolinguistics, the sociology of language, politics and economics, those concerned with questions of language and identity, and interested general readers. It is also an assessment of how well Francophonie is placed to face the future.