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10 Most spoken Languages in Africa

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In a continent rich with diversity as Africa is, there are 200 languages from over 100 tribes and countries but not all languages are equally popular. Of all the diverse languages, tribes and groups, there are 10 languages that are more widely spoken than others.

#10 – Berber

The Berber language is the tenth most widely spoken language in Africa. The Berber languages are a group of 26 closely related languages that constitute a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. They are spoken by 14 to 25 million people in Northern Africa throughout the Mediterranean coast, the Sahara Desert and Sahel, an area which used to be dominated by Berbers before the arrival of the Arabs. Today, there are large groups of Berber-speaking people in Morocco and Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya, and smaller groups in Tunis, Mauritania, Burkina-Faso, and Egypt.

#9 – Oromo

The Oromo language is Cushitic language widely spoken in the Horn of Africa and other surrounding nations including Ethiopia, Somali, Kenya, and Egypt. The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and account for up to 40% of the entire population. It is most widely spoken native language in Ethiopia with over 24 million speakers.

#8 – Amharic

This is the seventh most widely spoken language in Africa. It is the second largest Semitic dialect on the continent after Arabic. It is the official language in Ethiopia, with more than 25 million native speakers, and is spoken outside Ethiopia by about 3 million emigrants. Amharic is one of the very few African languages that uses its own alphabet, while most other languages use either Arabic or Latin letters. The Amharic language is also associated with the Rastafarian movement common in the Caribbean. Many Rastafarians also learn Amharic as a second language, as they consider it to be a sacred language.

#7 – Igbo

This is the native language of the Igbo people of Nigeria, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. However, the only place it has official status is in Equatorial Guinea, where it is recognized as a regional language.  It’s also spoken in Cameroon. It is spoken by approximately 27 million people.  The language has more than 20 dialects, with Central Igbo being the most prevalent.

#6 – Yoruba

Yoruba is one of the principal languages of Nigeria and is also spoken in other countries in West Africa. Significant Yoruba populations in other West African countries can be found in Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It’s a tonal language with 3 tones and is written using the Pan-Nigerian alphabet, a variation of the Latin alphabet. Approximately 39 million people speak it as their first or second language

#5 – Hausa

Hausa is the fifth largest language on the African Continent. It is classified as a member of the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. Hausa is the most widely spoken as a first language in Nigeria and as a second language in Nigeria as well as many other West African Countries. There are more than 63 million speakers of the Hausa language in Africa. Most Hausa speakers live in Northern Nigeria and the Southern Republic of Niger. The language is also popular in Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo as well as Chad. The language originated from a dialect in Kano, Nigeria, where most of the Hausa speakers are located. It is widely used in business and education in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Besides, it is one of the few African languages that are taught in International Universities due to its immense literature.

#4 – Swahili

Swahili or Kiswahili is the fourth most popularly spoken language on the Continent. This is a Bantu language that is spoken as the first language among the Swahili people of East Africa. It is estimated that speakers of Swahili language in Africa are more than 100 million, but only about 15 million speak it as a first language. Kiswahili is the national language in Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Shikomor, which is the official language of Comoros, is considered a dialect of Kiswahili as the two languages are closely related. The Swahili language has its origins along the coastal lines of Kenya and Tanzania. A huge chunk of the vocabulary in Swahili is derived from the Arabic language because of the interactions of the Arabic traders and the coastal people of East Africa from the 15th and 16th century. There are also other Swahili words that have been originally derived from German, Portuguese, English, Hindustani and French. The language is recognized and spoken in many countries on the continent including Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands.

#3 – French

French, is a European language that was introduced in African through colonization. There are about 115 million Africans who use the language as their first or second language. The language, which originated from France, is mostly spoken in former colonies of France in West and Central Africa. In Africa, French is often spoken alongside indigenous languages, but in some areas, it has become a first language, such as in the region of Abidjan, Ivory Coast or Libreville, Gabon. Among the countries that speak French in Africa include Togo, Senegal, Seychelles, Rwanda, Re-Union, Niger, Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Congo, DRC, Algeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Burundi.

#2 – English

English is the second most popular language on the continent. Only around 6.5M million Africans speak English as a native language but when you include people who learn it as a second language, the number of English speakers jumps to about 130 million. The language, which originated in England in the United Kingdom, was introduced in Africa through the colonization of Africa by the British. Many former colonies of Britain have adopted English as their official language for government, business, and education. Many other countries have plans in place for adopting English in their countries, despite not being former colonies of Britain. For example, Rwanda, which is a former colony of France, is quickly encouraging its citizens to learn and speak English as the country integrates itself into the East African community. English is spoken in 23 African countries including Botswana, Cameroun, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, St. Helena, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

West African Pidgin English is a creole language with about 75 million speakers. It’s not commonly written down, but the BBC recently began broadcasting in pidgin and created a written standard.

#1 – Arabic

Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Africa based on the number of people who speak the language. However, the language is mostly concentrated in North Africa and some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that there are more than 150 million people who speak Arabic as their first language in Africa, making it the most spoken language on the continent. Arabic comes in a number of flavors—Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial dialects. If you learn Modern Standard Arabic, you’ll be able to communicate with most Arabic speakers around the world. Modern Standard Arabic is the more formal form of the language, which is used in news articles, novels, newscasts, and some TV shows. However, native speakers do not always learn this form of Arabic. Instead, they learn variations of Arabic that is adapted to their culture in a way that Modern Standard Arabic is not.

Arabic speakers on the Continent of Africa make up over 50% of the total speakers of Arabic in the world. Arabic is the official language of many African nations including Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. It is also spoken in Tanzania (Zanzibar), Western Sahara and Somalia.

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Business and Development

Rwanda’s Rise 2.5 Decades After The Devastating Genocide

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Kigali, the capital of Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda’s capital

Rwanda is emerging as an economic powerhouse in East Africa just 2.5 decades after a very dark and devastating genocide. So good is the economic progress that the country has reduced its reliance on foreign donations. Currently, Rwanda domestically funds 84 percent of its budget. Two decades ago, the country could afford to fund only 36 percent of its budget.

Indicators

In addition to the reduced reliance on foreign aid, several indicators demonstrate Rwanda’s rapid growth. Major indicators are the rate of growth, decline in inequality, diversification, and decline in rates of poverty.

Growth Rate

Between 2001 and 2014, the average economic growth was 8 percent. The IMF projected Rwanda’s economic growth at 7.2 percent in 2018. The projections were based on favorable rains and strong industrial activity. In the first quarter of 2018, Rwanda registered a 10.6 percent growth in economy.

Equality in Rwanda

The country’s growth is also characterized by a decline in rates of inequality. The decline is largely due to improved healthcare, school enrollment, literacy, and life expectancy.

Greater equality is exhibited in the country’s parliament, where women make up 68 percent of parliament. This is one of the highest rates globally, putting Rwanda up in the ranks of countries with highest female representation in parliament.

Diversification

Farming is an important sector in Rwanda’s economy. A majority of the population still live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming. The government plans to shifts this focus to include more economic and investment opportunities. Specifically, the country is moving towards becoming more of a service-oriented and knowledge-based economy.

Decline in Poverty

The economic growth has translated into reducing poverty levels across the country. In 2005, 57 percent of Rwandese lived below the poverty line. By 2010, this number had reduced to 45 percent. In 2017, the poverty level was registered at 38.2 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.

Kagame’s Transformative Leadership

At the centre of the country’s rapid growth is President Paul Kagame. Kagame adopted and pursued policies that have transformed Rwanda to a prospective middle economy. The President continues to implement development plans for the country, as outlined in the country’s vision 2020. Also, under Kagame, Rwanda’s ease of doing business has significantly improved.

Vision 2020

Vision 2020 is Rwanda’s blueprint to continued economic progress. The vision is based on several pillars that include good governance, human resource development, infrastructure development, and private sector-led development. Other pillars are regional and international integration and market-oriented agriculture. With only one year left on the Plan, the government is still optimistic it will hit the targets.

Rwanda will be moving from Vision 2020 to Vision 2050, which heightens the growth prospects of the country by targeting a high income economy status by 2050. In order to reach this target, the country needs to achieve an average growth rate of 10 percent.

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This Pan African, Mentor-Driven And Corporate-Backed Accelerator Is Rewarding the 10 Most Promising Startups in Africa 2019

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The process of selecting 10 most promising startups in Africa 2019 is soon starting. A Pan African, mentor-driven and corporate-backed accelerator, aimed at empowering innovators is looking for the best startups in Africa to support so they can grow and realize their potential. Have you heard of Startupbootcamp Afritech 2019 Fasttrack Tour? This is a tour that will involve pitching events, mentoring and networking as well as hackathons in select cities in Africa.  These tour activities are lined up in order to ensure that the selected startups in Africa 2019 taste the goodies that the corporate giants can provide.

Startupbootcamp AfriTech Accelerator

Startupbootcamp AfriTech is the accelerator behind this exciting opportunity for startups. The team has assembled a powerful squad of sponsors in order to make sure that the selected startups reap maximum benefits. These sponsors include PWC, BNP, RCS, Nedbank, Paribas and Old Mutual. In this way, the accelerator empowers these innovative and promising startups in Africa in order to connect them with the best corporate players on the continent. Pan African, mentor-driven and corporate-backed accelerator, aimed at empowering innovators

Philip Kiracofe, Sebekedi Motlhabane Koloi and Zachariah George make the team behind this South African Startup accelerator. In order to make this opportunity best fitting to startups, the team will visit 15 countries in Africa. There will be 19 events in total so that each selected city gets the best attention. During these events, 10 most promising startups in Africa 2019 will be selected for rewards. In addition to startups, the accelerator is also inviting the corporate world, investors, mentors and other thought leaders to join in the events.

The program is already underway and will end on 22nd May. The 10 selected most promising startups in Africa will have various rewards lined up for grabs. Why should your startup apply and strive to be among the selected few? You should apply because the 10 selected most promising tech startups in Africa will get an opportunity to present their ideas to the accelerator team and fellow innovators. Additionally, you will also get an opportunity to get mentor feedback and network with the corporate world. You will also get to know more about this accelerator program.

What Awaits The 10 Most Promising Startups in Africa 2019?

The selected 10 most promising startups in Africa will receive the following:

  • Be invited to present their innovative ideas to the Startupbootcamp team and fellow entrepreneurs
  • Have the opportunity to receive mentor feedback, network with corporates and learn more about the Cape Town-based Startupbootcamp accelerator program
  • Get in the accelerator program watch list in order to get a better chance to get into the program or get opportunities to do pilots with corporate sponsors.
  • Get exposure to worldwide entrepreneurship and business opportunities in order to develop.
  • Meet with the industry best executives in order to learn even more.

Countries, Cities, and Dates for the Events

Select your nearest city and the best date for your startup in order to submit an application. Additionally, the earlier a startup applies,  the better the chances it will have to become one of the 10 most promising startups in Africa.

For a startup to be among the 10 most promising startups in Africa, it will need to be in at least one of the following sectors;

  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Transport and logistics
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Leisure and travel
  • Information Communication Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Education
  • Creative, media and entertainment
  • Construction and manufacturing
  • Clean technology and energy
  • Business services
  • Agribusiness

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The African Union Has A New Chair And Here Is Where His Primary Focus Will Be

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The new African Union Chair receives the baton from his predecessor

President Kagame of Rwanda hands over the baton to President el-Sisi of Egypt

The African Union held its 32nd Summit on February 10, 2019. At the Summit, Member States elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt as the new AU chair.

El-sisi takes over from President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. The new AU Chair addressed the Summit after the elections, setting his agenda for the African continent.

El-Sisi’s Profile

El-Sisi is the current president of Egypt–serving his second term after his re-election in 2018. El-Sisi is a graduate of the Egyptian Military Academy. After years in service, el-Sisi rose to the position of the director of military intelligence in 2010. Ultimately, he became Defense Minister and Commander in Chief when Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

In 2018, Forbes ranked el-Sisi at number 45 in the list of most powerful people in the world. The new African Union Chair has managed to restore Egypt to stability. As a result, this achievement saw his approval rating rise. Consequently, in the 2018 election, el-Sisi was re-elected with 97 percent of the vote.

El-Sisi’s Tasks as New AU Chair

Key on President el-Sisi’s agenda is the fight against terrorism on the continent. In his address at the Summit, the new African Union Chair stated that terrorism is one of the critical problems facing Africa. In addition, el-Sisi stated that the bloc will prioritize ‘preventive diplomacy’ and mediation in promoting peace in the continent.

El-Sisi’s new tasks differ from that of his predecessor. Whereas President Kagame focused on creating a free-trade zone that spans across the continent, eL-Sisi is putting his focus on fighting terrorism. However, there is a common agenda. Like his predecessor, el-Sisi will be required to align his approaches with the AU Agenda 2063.

The African Union Chair Position

The African Union Chair position is a ceremonial position that rotates within the five regions of the continent. As such, a succeeding Chair cannot come from the same region with current Chair.

In order for a candidate to win, he/she must garner the support of at least two-thirds of member states—or through consensus. President Thabo Mbeki was the inaugural Chair of the AU in 2002.

Term Limit

The African Union chair serves for one year. After that, member states elect a different Chair from a different region. The five regions of the AU include–Central, West, East, Southern, and North.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been announced as AU Chair for the year 2020. This means the AU leadership will be shifting from the North to the Southern region.

South Africa will have national elections on 8 May, 2019. As such, Ramaphosa will become Chair of AU in 2020 if he wins the South Africa elections and remains president—The AU chair position is held by a sitting president.

AU Commission

The AU commission is the Secretariat of the African Union. A Chairman leads the Commission, assisted by a deputy Chair. Additional members are the commissioners.

The Chair of the Commission chairs all meetings of the Commission. The position of AU Chair, therefore, is different from that of AU Commission chair.

 

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