World Population

Most spoken languages in Africa

The most spoken language in Africa is Arabic which is in around 150 million speakers in 2023, Arabic is mostly spoken in Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Tunisia, followed by Swahili with 50 million, Swahili is Official language in Tanzania, and mostly spoken in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hausa with 49 million, Hausa mostly spoken in Nigeria, Ghana and Niger, Oromo with 37 million is the native language of Ethiopia, Yoruba with 28 million natively spoken in Nigeria, Benin and Togo, Igbo with 27 million native in Nigeria and Fulani with 25 million is the native of Senegal.

RankLanguageNative Speakers in MillionOfficial status per country
1Arabic150Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Tunisia
2Swahili50Official in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
3Hausa49Nigeria, Ghana, Niger
4Oromo37Ethiopia
5Yoruba28Nigeria, Benin, Togo
6Igbo27Native in Nigeria
7Fulani25Senegal national language
8Amharic21Ethiopia
9Malagasy18Madagascar
10Portuguese17Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe
11Somali16.6Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya
12Berber16Morocco, Algeria
13Akan11Ghana
14Zulu10.4South Africa
15Kinyarwanda9.8Rwanda
16Chewa9.7Malawi, Zimbabwe
17Kirundi8.8Burundi
18Gikuyu8.1Kenya
19Mossi7.6Regional language in Burkina Faso
20Xhosa7.6South Africa, Zimbabwe
21Afrikaans7.2National language in Namibia, co-official in South Africa
22Shona7.11Zimbabwe
23Tigrinya7Eritrea, regional language in Ethiopia
24Kalenjin6.6Spoken in Kenya and Uganda
25English6.5In most of the African Countries
26Tshiluba6.3National language of Democratic Republic of the Congo
27Umbundu6Angola
28Tswana5.8Botswana, South Africa, spoken in Zimbabwe
29Kongo5.6Angola, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo
30Sesotho5.6Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe
31Lingala5.5Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo
32Wolof5.4Senegal
33Luo5Kenya, Tanzania
34Tsonga5South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
35Northern Sotho4.6South Africa
36Luganda4.1Native language of Uganda
37Abron1.4Ghana
38Venda1.3South Africa, Zimbabwe
39French1.2In most of the Countries
40Mauritian Creole1.1Native language of Mauritius
41Ndebele1.1South Africa
42Spanish1.1Equatorial Guinea, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Morocco
43Dangme1Ghana
44Khoekhoe0.3National language of Namibia
45Bhojpuri0.07Spoken in Mauritius, South Africa

African Languages by Country by 2023

Algeria

The official languages of Algeria is Arabic and Tamazight. Tamazight is closely related to Berber language. French is spoken by governmental and educational class.

Angola

Portuguese is the official language of Angola, many people speak one or several of Bantu or Khoisan languages. Kimbundu, Umbundu, Kikongo, Chokwe, Kwanyama, Ganguela are the minority languages of Angola.

Benin

French is the official language of Benin, with Fon and Yoruba being the most common languages in the south. Six major languages are spoken in the north, of them are Portuguese, Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo, Chokwe, Ngangela and Kwanyama.

Botswana

English and Tswana are the official languages of Botswana, with Tswana being the most common national language.

Burkina Faso

French is the official language of Burkina Faso. Mossi, Dyula and Fula are the national languages.

Burundi

French and Kirundi are co-official of Burundi. Many also speak Swahili in Burundi.

Cameroon

English and French are co-official language of Cameroon, with Cameroonian Pidgin English widely spoken.

Cape Verde

Portuguese is official in Cape Verde. Most spoken language in Cape is Verdean Creole.

Central African Republic

French and Sango are co-official in Central African Republic, the former is the lingua franca. Sango is the local language with the most speakers.

Chad

Arabic and French are co-official in Chad, with over 120 other languages spoken.

Comoros

Arabic, French, and Comorian are co-official in Comoros.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

French with four national languages Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba are official in DR Congo.

Republic of the Congo

French is official in Republic of the Congo, but is only spoken by the official purpose. Lingala and Kituba are national linguae francae, the latter is a creole of Kikongo.

Ivory Coast

French is official in Ivory Coast.

Djibouti

Arabic and French are co-official in Djibouti, other widely spoken languages are Afar and Somali.

Egypt

Arabic is official in Egypt, with Egyptian Arabic being the most common spoken language. English and French are major languages for education and trade.

Equatorial Guinea

Spanish, French and Portuguese are official in Equatorial Guinea, Other languages include Annobonese, Bubi, Fang, Igbo, and Pichinglis.

Eritrea

There is no official language in Eritrea, but Arabic, English, Italian and Tigrinya are widely used by the government. Other common languages include Afar, Bilen, Kunama, Nara, Saho, Tigre and Beja.

Ethiopia

Afar, Amharic, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya are official in Ethiopia, English is widely spoken and used in secondary school.

Gabon

French is official in Gabon.

Gambia

English is official in Gambia.

Ghana

English is official in Ghana, Akan, Dagaare/Wale, Dagbane, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem and Nzema are government recognized languages treated as co-official.

Guinea

French is official in Guinea, Fula, Mandinka and Susu is the lingua franca.

Guinea-Bissau

Portuguese is official language in Guinea-Bissau, but the most widely spoken language is a Portuguese-based creole language called Kriol.

Kenya

Swahili and English are official in Kenya.

Lesotho

Sesotho and English are official language in Lesotho.

Liberia

English is official in Liberia.

Libya

Arabic is official in Libya, Tamazight is spoken by about 10% of the population. Italian is known and understood by some older Libyans.

Madagascar

Malagasy, French are official in Madagascar.

Malawi

Chewa language, Tumbuka language and English are official languages in Malawi.

Mali

French is official in Mali, Bambara is the primary lingua franca. Other popular languages, including Bambara, Fula, Sonrai, and Soninke

Mauritania

Arabic is official in Mauritania, other languages spoken include Pulaar, Soninke, and Wolof. French is used by upper class people.

Mauritius

English is the de jure official language, French is more widely spoken, making it the de facto official language of Mauritius. Tamil, Hindi and other Indian languages are spoken by the Indian community. Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese are also spoken by some.

Morocco

Arabic and Berber are the official languages in Morocco, French is also widely spoken.

Mozambique

Portuguese is the official language in Mozambique. Makua, Sena, Ndau, Xitsonga and Swahili are spoken by a some amount of the population. English is second language as it is introduced in Education.

Namibia

The official language is English in Namibia. Oshiwambo, Khoekhoegowab, Otjiherero, RuKwangali and siLozi are regional languages. Whites in Namibia speak Afrikaans or German.

Niger

French is the official language in Niger. Hausa, Djerma, Tamajaq, Fulfulde are popular African languages.

Nigeria

English is the official language in Nigeria, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Efik, Edo, Adamawa, Fulfulde, Idoma, and Central Kanuri are all widely spoken.

Rwanda

Kinyarwanda, French, and English are official languages in Rwanda. Kinyarwanda is the native of the vast majority of the population. French and English are only spoken by a minority.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

The official languages are Arabic and Spanish in Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Portuguese is the official language in São Tomé and Príncipe, spoken by 95% of the population.

Senegal

French is the official language in Senegal.

Seychelles

English, French and Seychellois Creole are official languages in Seychelles.

Sierra Leone

English is the official language in Sierra Leone, Krio is widely spoken as the ethnic language.

Somalia

Somali and Arabic are official in Somalia. Somali is the most spoken language. Other Afro-Asiatic languages are Maay, Dabarre, and Tunni.

South Africa

South Africa has 11 official languages, they are Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

South Sudan

English is official in South Sudan. Juba Arabic, Bari, Dinka, Luo, Murle, Nuer, Zande are the some of the native languages.

Sudan

Arabic and English are the official languages in Sudan.

Eswatini

English and siSwati are the official languages in Eswatini. Zulu is widely spoken in the southern region of the country.

Tanzania

English and Swahili are official in Tanzania.

Togo

French is the official language in Togo. Ewe and Kabiye are national languages.

Tunisia

Arabic is official in Tunisia, French is often used as a language of business and trade.

Uganda

English and Swahili are official in Uganda. Indeed, Ganda is the most spoken language. Soga, Nkole, Kiga, Teso, Masaba, Nyoro are the minority languages.

Zambia

English is the official language in Zambia.

Zimbabwe

English is the official language in Zimbabwe, while Shona, Northern Ndebele and Kalanga are spoken by the majority of the population.

Endangered languages in Africa

Below is the list of Endangered Languages in Africa:

CountryVulnerableEndangeredExtinct
BeninTchumbuli
BotswanaGana, GuiYeyi, Taa, Ani, Kua, Ts'ixa, , Danisi, Xaise, HoaDeti
CameroonGyele, Kuk, Yasa, Kung, Kendem, Iyive, Tuotomb, Hya, Bati, Eman, Isu, Nubaca, Maslam, Bubia, Langa, Beezen, Akum, Majera, Hijuk, Bakole, Mono, Dimbong, Cambap, Zumaya, Somyev, Busuu, Ndai, Njerep, Baldemu, Bung, Bikya, BishuoDuli, Gey, Nagumi, Ngong
Central African RepublicYuluNgombe, Ukhwejo, Geme, Birri
ChadKarangGadang, Zirenkel, Kulfa, Sarwa, Kendeje, Saba, Kujarge, Toram, Jaya, Mambai, Jonkor Bourmataguil, Besme, Fania, Ubi, Fongoro, Mbara, Maslam, Koke, Laal, Tamki, Miltu, Boor, Noy, Goundo, Massalat, MabiriBerakou, Horo
Democratic Republic of the CongoYuluBeeke, Kari, Boguru, NgbindaLi-Ngbee
EritreaDahaalik
EthiopiaYem, Oyda, Kwama, Chara, Bussa, Dimme, Nayi, MursiKomo, Ts'amay, Bambassi, Arbore, Hozo, Bayso, Gats'ama - Ganjule - Harro, K'emant, Zay, Shabo, Argobba, Anfillo, Opuuo, Karo, Kwegu, OngotaBoro, Gafat, Ge'ez, Qwarenya
GhanaTuwuli, Tafi, KonniKamara, Animere
GuineaNalu, Baga Manduri, Pukur, Badiaranke, Baga Sitemu, Mani, Baga MboteniBaga Kalem
Guinea BissauEdiamatKasanga, Cobiana
KenyaSuba, BurjiBoni, Bong'om, Dahalo, Ongamo, OmotikElmolo, Kinare, Kore, Lorkoti, Yaaku, Sogoo
LibyaGhadamesTamahaq (Libya), Nafusi, Awjila, Domari, Sawkna
MauritaniaImeraguen, Zenaga (Mauritania), Nemadi
MoroccoFiguigTamazight (Beni Iznassen), Moroccan Judeo-Arabic (Morocco), Judezmo (Europe), Ghomara, Sanhaja of SrairTamazight (Ait Rouadi), Judeo-Berber (Morocco)
NigeriaBade, Gera, ReshePolci cluster, Duguza, Gurdu-Mbaaru, Ngwaba, Geji cluster, Fyem, Gura, Kona, Hya, Ndunda, Ilue, Bakpinka, Gyem, Akum, Defaka, Dulbu, Jilbe, Kiong, Mvanip, Yangkam, Kudu-Camo, Somyev, Luri, SambeOdut, Zeem
SenegalJola-Kassa, Mancagne, Bassari, Bayot, Gusilay, Noon, Bandial, Karone, Paloor, Bainouk-GunyaamoloMenik, Kwatay, Bainouk-Samik, Mlomp, Cobiana
Sierra LeoneBom, Mani, KimMo-peng, Sei
South AfricaXiri, N'uu, KoranaGan'ne, Cape Khoekhoe, 'Auni, Xam, Ku 'e, Kx'au, Xegwi
SudanHeiban, Feroge, Yulu, Thuri, Dongotono, TennetLumun, Laro, Moro, Krongo, Katla, Karko, Kadaru, Komo, Bongo, Belanda Bor, Tingal, Beli, Dilling, Aka, Narim, Bai, Acheron, Ngile, Shatt, Tagoi, Otoro, Temein, Tulishi, Kanga, Tumtum, Keiga, Lafofa, Afitti, Ebang, Tocho, Morokodo, Tima, Logol, Warnang, Dair, El Hugeirat, Njalgulgule, Indri, Eliri, Nding, Shwai, Ko, Logorik, Talodi, Tese, Tirma, Mo'da, Boguru, Wali, Buga, Aja, Kelo, MoloBaygo, Berti, Birgid, Gule, Homa, Togoyo
TogoBoro
TunisiaTamazight (Tunisia), Tunisian Judeo-Arabic (Tunisia)Sened
UgandaAmbaIk, SooNapore, Nyang'i, Singa
TanzaniaSuba, Burunge, Vidunda, HadzaZaramo, Dhaiso, Segeju, Kami, Gweno, AkieAasax, Kw'adza
Western SaharaZenaga (Western Sahara)

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