One of the most notable characteristics of the continent is its linguistic variety, but, how many languages are spoken in Africa? Can you approximate the number of languages spoken on this continent? Complicated, right? Well, we can give you an answer:
Around 2000 languages are spoken, however, it must be taken into account that not all these languages are spoken by a similar number of people, because while some have millions of speakers, others are concentrated in a smaller number of people.
In Africa 23 official languages coexist, among the most common are French and English, being the official or co-official languages in 41 of the 54 countries that make up the continent … Arabic, Portuguese and Swahili are also very widespread.
This has an explanation and, is that in the pre-colonial period, before the European powers divided up the African continent at the Berlin Conference, only native languages were spoken in the territory. After independence, many countries adopted an official language, which in many cases was a European language.
Thus, of the total number of African countries, 27 have a European language as their official language, 18 have one of these languages as official and only 9 continue to have only native languages as official.
- Angola: Portuguese.
- Algeria: Classical Arabic (cultured Arabic).
- Benin: French.
- Botswana: English and Setswana.
- Burkina Faso: French.
- Burundi: French and Kirundi.
- Cape Verde: Portuguese.
- Cameroon: French and English.
- Chad: French and Arabic.
- Central African Republic: French and Sango.
- Comoros: Arabic, Swahili and French.
- Republic of the Congo: French, Lingala and Kituba.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: French.
- Ivory Coast: French.
- Egypt: Arabic.
- Eritrea: * None at the official level. Arabic and Tigrinya are the most widely spoken languages.
- Ethiopia: Amharic.
- Gabon: French.
- Gambia: English.
- Ghana: English.
- Guinea: French.
- Guinea-Bissau: Portuguese.
- Equatorial Guinea: Spanish, French and Portuguese.
- Kenya: Swahili and English.
- Lesotho: Sesotho and English.
- Liberia: English.
- Libya: Arabic.
- Madagascar: French and Malagasy.
- Malawi: English and Chichewa.
- Mali: French.
- Morocco: Classical Arabic and Berber.
- Mauritius: English, French, and Mauritian Creole.
- Mauritania: Arabic.
- Mozambique: Portuguese.
- Namibia: Afrikaans and German.
- Niger: French.
- Nigeria: English.
- Rwanda: Kinyanwarda, English and French.
- Sao Tome and Principe: Portuguese.
- Senegal: French.
- Seychelles: English, French, and Seychellois Creole.
- Sierra Leone: English.
- Somalia: Somali.
- Swaziland: Swazi and English.
- South Africa: English and Afrikaans.
- Sudan: English and Arabic.
- South Sudan: English.
- Tanzania: Swahili and English.
- Togo: French.
- Tunisia: Arabic.
- Uganda: English and Swahili.
- Djibouti: Arabic and French.
- Zambia: English.
- Zimbabwe: English.