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Benin, located in the west, is one of Africa’s most stable democracies. French is the official language of this country of 11 million people. The people of Benin speak Fon, Ge, Bariba, Yoruba, and Dendi, as well.
2. Burkina Faso
With a population of 18.6 million, this is one of the poorest countries in Africa. It is located in the west and is landlocked. French is the official language, although other indigenous language are also spoken.
Burundi is another one of the poorest countries and has a population of about 10 million. You have probably heard of the conflicts between the Tutsi and Hutu groups, some of this is in Burundi. It is located in the east and the official languages are French and Kirundi.
This country located in central Africa has one of the highest literacy rates on the continent and is known as “Africa in miniature” due to its diversity. With over 200 linguistic groups, the official languages are French and English. They also speak the languages of Bantu, Semi-Bantu and Sudanic groups.
Comoros is a country located off the eastern coast of Africa, east of Madagascar. It is made up of the islands of Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan, and Mayotte, as well as many smaller islands. The population is 813,000 and the official languages are French, Arabic, and Comorian.
6. The Republic of Congo
This country of 5 million people and is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s major oil producers. The official language is French.
7. The Democratic Republic of Congo
With a population of 81.5 million, this huge central African country has been plagued by civil war and corruption in the recent past. The official language is French while Lingala, Kiswahili, Kikongo, and Tshiluba are also spoken.
8. The Ivory Coast
Located in western Africa, The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. French is the official language in this country of 23.7 million people.
9. The Republic of Djibouti
Many countries have military bases in this important coastal nation. Djibouti is the gateway to the Suez Canal which is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. French is the official language of this country of just under 1 million. Arabic, Somali and Afar are also spoken.
One of the most stable countries in western Africa, Gabon has a population of 1.5 million people whose official language is French. Other Bantu group languages are also spoken here.
This country of 10.5 million, located in western Africa, has the potential to be one of the richest countries in Africa due to its vast mineral wealth. Nonetheless, its people are some of the poorest in the region. The official language is French, and Susu, Fulani, and Mandingo are also spoken.
12. Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is found, you guessed it, near the equator just to the north of Gabon. It is a small country with 1.2 million people. The official languages are Spanish, French, and (as of 2010) Portuguese.
25 million people live on this large island off the east coast of the African continent. In fact, it is the 4th largest island in the world! Madagascar is known for its wildlife. The official languages are Malagasy and French.
Many westerners have heard of Mali and the northern city of Timbuktu. Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa. The population of 18.5 million speaks French as the official language. Other major languages spoken include Bambara, Berber, and Arabic.
Niger is located to the east of Mali and is on the edge of the Sahara desert. It has a population of 16.6 million people and is noted as being a major transit route for migrants heading to Europe. The official language is French, and people also speak Hausa, Songhai, and Arabic.
16. The Central African Republic
This is a landlocked country in central Africa that is rich in diamonds, gold, oil, and uranium. The population of 4.7 million has been operating under a transitional government since 2014. French is the official language, but Sangho is the lingua franca of this country.
Rwanda is located just north of Burundi and has suffered much from the conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu groups. There is a great film called, Hotel Rwanda, that will help give you an idea of what happened here. Kinyarwanda, French, and English are the official languages of this country of 11.2 million people.
Senegal is known as one of Africa’s model democracies. It is in northwest Africa and has had a tradition of stable governments. Dakar is the capital city of this country of 15.5 million people. French is the official language and Wolof is the lingua franca.
19. The Seychelles
This group of islands lies to the north of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The 94,000 inhabitants speak French, English, and Seychellois Creole as their official languages. The Seychelles enjoy a high per capita income as well as good healthcare and education systems.
Tchad, or Chad, is Africa’s fifth largest country and has become an official oil producing nation as of 2003. French and Arabic are the official languages of this country with 11.8 million people.
The Togolese Republic is in western Africa. It has struggled to become a stable country since it gained independence from France in 1960. The population of 7.6 million people speaks French as their official language. There are several other countries where they speak French in Africa, although French is not the official language.
Les Pays Anglophone
Burundi has three official languages: French, English, and Kirundi
Kirundi is the country’s national dialect. However, almost 98% of the population is fluent in Kirundi. It is also recognised as the national language of the country in the constitution.
Botswana has two official languages: English and Setswana. Setswana is the country’s national language, but English remains the preferred choice in the business environment.
Cameroun or Cameroon? That is the starting point of confusion. Having been colonised by the French and the Brits at different points, the country has two official languages: French and English. French is the most widely spoken language in eight out of ten regions, while the other two regions speak English.
Although Ethiopia was never a colony of the United Kingdom, English is the official language in the country. English is widely spoken in its tertiary institutions and corporate organisations.
A country with three official languages, Eritreans speak English, Arabic, and Tigrigna. English was introduced into the country following WW II.
Actually called The Gambia, English has remained the country’s official language since its colonial rule. Nonetheless, Wolof remains a widely spoken first language in the West African nation.
Ghana is a predominantly English-speaking country dating back to its colonial rule under the British government. Today, the country has 11 other official dialects, but English is chief among them.
Kenya is another African country with two official languages. Swahili had been the country’s recognised official language before the British colonial rule and still is today. Nevertheless, English also remains a primary language in Kenya following its adoption during the colonial era.
Although Sesotho and English are the primary languages spoken in Lesotho, Sesotho is still widely spoken in different parts of the country than English.
Liberia is a multilingual country where more than 20 tribal languages are spoken. English is Liberia’s official language and serves as the lingua franca, or common language, that helps connect people of various linguistic backgrounds living in the country.
English is the official language of Malawi, while Chichewa is its national language spoken by about 57% of the population. English was introduced to the country during the colonial era; however, a 2008 Census reports that only 26 per cent of the population above the age of 14 is able to speak English.
Similar to Cameroon, French and English are the country’s official languages. French is the language that tends to be used in education and media, while English is the official language in Parliament. Different countries have colonised this beautiful country on different occasions. First, it was the Arabs who ruled Mauritius, followed by the Dutch, the French, and eventually the British.
The Germans colonised Namibia for three decades; however, English came to the fore as a language of resistance and liberation in the country’s struggle for independence. While English remains the country’s primary language, Afrikaans, a Dutch-Germanic language, is still spoken in Namibia.
Nigeria is a multilingual country comprised of different ethnic groups, which occupied a complicated landscape from its historic-cultural, political, economic, and educational developments. Nigeria was colonised by the British, and in the time Nigeria was a British colony, English was made an official language. Many years after independence from the British, Nigeria resolved to continue using English as the national language since the country is a multi-ethnic nation with about 500+ ethnic tribes and languages. Many feared prioritising an indigenous language over the other would bring about chaos.
Rwanda is home to four official languages, including Kinyarwanda, Swahili, French, and English. While Swahili is widely spoken than any other language in the country, English is the business language as its introduction was to sustain the country’s place in the global market.
Saint Helena remains an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. As such, despite the country’s numerous local dialects, English remains the official language.
Seychellois Creole, French and English comprise the official languages spoken in Seychelles. However, English spread throughout the country during British rule. Today, English remains the most spoken official language in Seychelles.
Bengali and English are the official languages of Sierra Leone. English also remains the predominant official language in the country.
Somali, English, and Arabic are the official languages approved in the country. The British colonised the North West Region, and English has since remained the official language throughout the country.
English is an official language in South Africa along with other 10 native languages: isiNdebele, isiSwati, xiTsonga, tshiVenda, Afrikaans, sePedi, seSotho, Setswana, isiXhosa and isiZulu. The most spoken first languages are Zulu(23%), Xhosa(16%), Afrikaans(14%) and English(10%). Most South Africans speak at least two languages, with English being the general lingua franca.
Having been mired in political conflict and skewed history, the South Sudanese government chose English as its strict official language.
Arabic was a long-standing official language in Sudan. However, it has since been replaced by English which remains the principal language in the North African country.
Swaziland has two official languages: Swati, the national language spoken by more than 95% of the population, and English. The citizens are well-versed in English, which is the official business language.
Tanzanian law no longer constitutes English as the official language. However, it can still be considered as an official language because it is still the language of higher courts. Tanzanians, therefore, see themselves as having two official languages: English and Swahili. Swahili is the unifying language of the country between different tribes who each have their own tribal language. In contrast, English provides Tanzanians with the ability to participate in the global economy and culture.
Uganda is home to more than 40 recognised languages. However, English became popular in Uganda during colonial times and has been the country’s official language since its independence. The use of it has increased since the introduction of Universal Primary Education in Uganda.
Zambia has several major indigenous languages, all of which are members of the Bantu family. However, English is the official language and is used to conduct official business and education.
While most Zimbabweans speak Shona (75%) and Ndebele (18%) as a first language, standard English is the country’s lingua franca, used in government and business and as the main medium of instruction in schools. Zimbabwe was also recognised by the Guinness World Records as the country with the highest number of official languages – 16. These include Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Tonga, Sotho, Sign Language, Shona, Shangani, Ndebele, Ndau, Nambya, Koisan, Kalanga, Chewa, Chibarwe, and English.