An Overview Of English Speaking Countries In Africa

english speaking african countries
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English Speaking African Countries

Africa is the second-largest continent in the world, known for its diverse cultures, rich history, and varied landscapes. West Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa collectively form a significant part of the African continent, the second-largest in the world. The diversity within African nations is reflected not only in their landscapes but also in linguistic diversity, with tribal languages often serving as a crucial element of cultural identity. Under colonial rule, exemplified by British rule in places like Saint Helena and Cape Town, the imposition of certain languages as the language of instruction in schools occurred, shaping the educational landscape. In Côte d’Ivoire, for instance, the language of choice in schools may differ from the tribal languages spoken in daily life, with a secondary language often being prioritized. This linguistic complexity is evident in the extensive list of countries on the continent, each grappling with its unique historical legacy and the challenges posed by the largest country in Africa.

Eastern Africa is home to some of the most populated countries on the continent, with one standing out as the most populous country in the region. In the realm of international communication and business, major cities such as Sao Tome have become hubs where English skills are highly valued. The English-speaking population in this area has grown significantly, positioning English as the preferred language for various facets of international business. While Bantu languages remain principal in local interactions, the prevalence of English as a language of business underscores the global interconnectedness and the region’s adaptation to the demands of the international arena.

South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria are the only African countries most people can name. Most others require a map to locate their general location if you can even find them on the globe at all.

In this article, you’ll learn about 10 English-speaking African countries that you might not have known existed before reading this article.

Most of them will probably surprise you with how interesting they are!

South Sudan

South Sudan is the newest country in English speaking countries. It gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011.

The capital of South Sudan is Juba and it has a population of 10,170,000 people with 98% being Christian.

The official status of English is only medium of instruction and not the primary language or official language.

The majority of the population of south Sudan speaks native languages which include Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Fur.

English speakers are found throughout all social classes although they are concentrated among those who have had an opportunity to be educated abroad or who have attended schools that teach in English as well as among those who work for international organizations based in Juba such as UNMISS.

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Kenya is the most English-speaking country in Morocco, with a population of around 45 million. The country has a history of British colonialism, and English is an official language alongside Swahili.

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Gambia (Republic of The)

The Gambia is a country on the coast of Western Africa. The Gambia has an area of 10,689 square miles, and its capital city, Banjul, is situated at latitude 12°32’N and longitude 13°14’W.

The country shares boundaries with Senegal to the north, with Mali to the east and southeast, with Guinea to the south, and with the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The Gambian population includes 4 million people: 1 million are classed as urban inhabitants while 3 million live in rural areas.

The official languages of The Gambia are English (official), Mandinka and Wolof; indigenous languages include Fulani/Pulaar and Wolof.


The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in East Africa. It borders Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

English is the official language of Zambia, but other common languages include Bemba, Chinyanja and Tonga. Zambia’s population is concentrated mainly around the Zambezi River with most people living within 50 miles of it.

Western Zambia has been influenced by Christianity while Eastern Zambia has been influenced by Islam.


The country of Zimbabwe is the most developed country on the African continent, but it still has many of the same problems that plague other African countries.

It was colonized by the British and Rhodesia until 1980, when it became Zimbabwe. There are about 12 million native speakers of English in Zimbabwe who use it as their national language.

The population consists mostly of people from Shona, Ndebele, and Tsonga tribes. Around 18% of Zimbabweans speak English as a first or second language.


In Botswana, English is the official language. It’s not surprising, since English is a foreign language to most African countries and has been taught since the 19th century.

However, at the same time, it’s also one of the two official languages spoken in neighboring Zimbabwe.

The other official language is Shona, which comes from an ancient trade language called Ndebele. English was brought over by British colonizers who first came in the 20th century.


The Republic of Namibia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered by Angola, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

As with most countries on the continent, it’s landscape ranges from plains to deserts and mountains. The capital city is Windhoek and English is its official language.

But what about other countries? Nigeria for example, has one of the largest populations on the continent with an estimated 177 million people.

English is also its official language but it’s actually not spoken as much as Hausa or Yoruba are. In contrast to Nigeria, Kenya is predominantly English speaking with a population of just over 43 million.

It too has been victim to terrorism, especially from extremist groups like Boko Haram who have terrorized civilians in towns and villages.

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The country was a British protectorate until independence was achieved in 1968. King Mswati III currently rules Swaziland from his palace at Nhlangano. It is estimated that just over 5% of the population speaks English as their first language.

English is taught in schools and used for government and business, but many people speak siSwati or siLozi which are local languages.

One of the most popular dishes in Swaziland is pap – a maize meal (corn) dish served with various toppings such as beans, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and soya sauce.


Lesotho shares its borders with both South African countries: Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. The capital city of the country is Maseru, which means place of stone in Sesotho language.

A majority of the population lives below poverty level and many families struggle to provide for themselves due to high unemployment rates and low incomes for workers who are employed.

Education is compulsory from age 7 to 15. Primary school consists of seven years, followed by four years at junior secondary school (grades 10 through 12). In grades 10 and 11 all students take English as a subject.

English Language instruction starts off with reading and writing skills, but later moves on to a more conversational approach where students learn about different cultures and lifestyles.

English Language classes culminate in exams that include reading comprehension tests, writing tasks, grammar exercises, speaking activities and short essays.

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The country is divided into 10 provinces and subdivided into 36 districts. English, French, German and Spanish are all official languages of the country, which was also a former British colony.

The Francophone majority accounts for more than 70% of the population while Anglophones account for about 20%.

These groups have historically been separated from one another by geographical barriers and differences in colonial administration practices.

However, since its independence in 1960, Cameroon has had four presidents who were francophones from different parts of Cameroon as well as an anglophone Prime Minister (from Northwest Province).

This country has made considerable progress towards improving political representation at all levels, but it still has not achieved parity among the various linguistic groups.

Linguistic Diversity in African Education

In West Africa, the linguistic landscape reflects a tapestry of diversity, with English speakers playing a pivotal role. While English serves as the principal language in many countries, it often coexists with numerous indigenous languages. As a national language, English holds significant importance in education, administration, and commerce across the region. Despite its status as a foreign language, its widespread usage underscores its influence and prominence.

From the bustling cities to remote villages, its presence is palpable, shaping the social and cultural fabric of West African societies. On the Africa Map, the spread of English highlights historical and contemporary connections, illustrating the complex interactions between colonial legacies and local identities.

In many East African countries, education systems grapple with the challenge of accommodating diverse linguistic backgrounds, including Seychellois Creole in the Seychelles and Sao Tome’s indigenous languages. While African languages often serve as the primary means of communication among people in local communities, the adoption of a co-official language, such as Portuguese in Sao Tome or French in Equatorial Guinea, aims to facilitate effective communication on a broader scale.

However, ensuring inclusivity and promoting proficiency in both local languages and the co-official language remains crucial for fostering unity and enabling equitable access to education and opportunities across East Africa.

Cultural Dynamics and Growth in Africa

In the 19th century, the regions of South Africa and East Africa, part of the broader Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa, began to see significant transformations in their societal structures and economic landscapes. During this period, effective communication became crucial as various linguistic backgrounds within individual countries contributed to a complex cultural tapestry. These interactions among diverse groups played a pivotal role in shaping traditional cultures and fostering economic growth. As countries in East Africa sought to integrate more closely, they had to navigate the challenges posed by different languages and cultural practices.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s development was marked by the interplay of indigenous cultural elements with those introduced by European settlers, further enriching its cultural and economic progression. This historical context highlights the importance of embracing linguistic and cultural diversity as a means to spur economic development and maintain the richness of traditional cultures in Africa.

In the 21st century, Cape Verde has made notable political gains at the national level, distinguishing itself from many other African nations with a colonial history tied to European countries. These advances are often highlighted in breaking news segments, as Cape Verde’s growth rates and developmental achievements garner attention on international platforms like the United Nations.

The country’s progress is particularly significant given its small size and the challenges posed by its colonial past. Cape Verde’s ability to navigate these obstacles and make substantial strides in governance and economic stability serves as a model for other post-colonial nations striving for development and recognition on the global stage. This trajectory of growth and political stability is a testament to the resilience and strategic planning of the Cape Verdean government and its people.

Colonial Impact and Modern Challenges in Africa

In the 19th century, Southern Africa underwent significant transformations under colonial rule, as European countries sought to extend their influence and control over the region. This period saw profound changes in African societies, including the imposition of European languages as the medium of instruction in schools. This shift was not limited to Southern Africa but was also prevalent in Eastern Africa, where colonial powers implemented similar policies to facilitate administration and assert dominance. The impact of these changes varied across individual countries, shaping their educational systems and cultural landscapes. At the national level, the legacy of colonial rule continues to influence the linguistic and educational policies of these nations, reflecting the complex interplay between indigenous traditions and European colonial practices.

In the 21st century, the global landscape is shaped by both historical legacies and contemporary challenges. Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, serves as a hub for addressing regional issues, including human rights violations that continue to plague parts of Africa and beyond. Across the Mediterranean Sea, nations grapple with migration and political instability, often drawing the attention and intervention of the United States. The concept of country formation, which dates back to various pivotal eras such as the 6th century, 2nd century, eleventh century, and 1st century, remains relevant as new nations emerge and existing ones evolve. The dynamics of each country, encapsulated in details like Country, Flag, Capital, and Population, reflect a complex interplay of history, culture, and politics that continue to shape the modern world.

Challenges and Resilience in African Heritage

The phenomenon of growth without jobs has become a pressing issue in various regions, exacerbating socioeconomic disparities and fueling discontent. This is particularly evident in parts of Africa, where international conflicts and armed conflicts disrupt the potential for stable development. Inconsequential conflicts, though less severe, still strain resources and impede progress. The history of BC Congo, a region rich in cultural heritage, highlights the resilience of its people amidst such challenges. From the nucleus of early BC civilizations to the transformations in AD, the visual culture and performative cultures of BC Congo have remained integral to African history. These elements also resonate in American societies, where the influence of African heritage continues to shape diverse cultural expressions.

African figures, both human and animal figures, have long been central to the rich cultural tapestry of Southern Africa, reflecting the region’s deep historical roots and diverse traditions. From the ninth century to the 16th century, African societies developed complex social structures and artistic expressions despite the challenges posed by their environments. The arrival of European countries and the imposition of colonial rule disrupted these societies, leading to significant social and economic changes. However, in the 21st century, Southern Africa has made strides towards recovery and growth, including a notable reduction in poverty levels. This progress highlights the resilience and ingenuity of African societies as they navigate the legacies of their colonial past and forge new paths in a globalized world.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are twenty-one English-speaking countries in Africa, with South Africa hosting the most. The following is a list of English-speaking countries in Africa by population size: Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.

There are a lot of countries in Africa, but not all of them speak English. Many African countries speak their own languages, as well as French and Portuguese. Some countries that speak English include: Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Botswana.

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