10 Most Popular Languages in Africa as at 2016

10 Most Popular Languages in Africa as at 2016

Africa is second largest and second most populous continent in the world with a total population of 1.111 billion.

African languages belong to one of the four language families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo and Khoisan. Around 2,000 languages are spoken in Africa. Nigeria alone has 250 languages, one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world. The people of this large continent also use a wide variety of sign languages.

Here are the top 10 most spoken languages in Africa.


Zulu (IsiZulu) is used in the Eastern part of South Africa. Its tongue clicks are unique. The language is written with Latin characters. It is used widely in the South African media. According to Ethnologue, Zulu is the second most spoken Bantu language after Shona.


Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language (after Arabic) in the world. It is the official working language of Ethiopia. Outside Ethiopia, Amharic is the language of around 2.7 million emigrants. More than 18.7 million people speak Amharic in Africa.

8 IGBO more than 24 million people

Igbo is the native language of the Igbo people. There are more than 20 dialects of this language. They are all written in Latin characters. It is a tonal language.

7 Yoruba-Language over 30 million Speakers

Many people in Nigeria speak Yoruba. The language is also widely used in Togo and Benin. It is a varying tonal language written in mostly Latin letters.

6 Oromo-Language more than 30 million speakers

Many people residing in the Horn of Africa speak Oromo, a Cushitic language. It is not the official language of any nation. You will find people who speak this language in Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt and Kenya.

5 Hauwa Speakers in Africa are over 50 million

Many people in the Western, Northern and Central Africa use this language. Hausa belongs to the West Chadic languages subgroup of the Chadic languages group. It is part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Hausa has between 23 and 25 consonant phonemes.

4 French-Language (over 90 million Speaker)

French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world. Many countries in Africa were colonized by France. Because of this, more than 90 million people in this continent can speak French. In nations like Morocco, Algeria, Senegal and Rwanda, French is used commonly in society.

3 Swahili-Language (over 100 million Speaker)

The Swahili language or Kiswahili is the official language of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It is a Bantu language and the mother tongue of the Swahili people. Many communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo speak Swahili.

2 ARABIC (More than 100 million speakers)
Arabic is the most widespread official language in the African continent. it is the official language of Algeria, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Arabic is the co-official language of Morocco, Eritrea, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Djibouti and Western Sahara.

1 ENGLISH (Around 700 Million Speakers)
In Africa, English is the primary language of Botswana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana. In South Africa, it is given official status with 10 other languages.

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