20+ English Speaking Countries in Africa

There are a lot of English-speaking countries in the world. However, today we’re focused on Africa.

Africa is one of the continents with various local dialects spoken in different countries. Some of them include Swahili, Yoruba, Oromo, Ashante, Afar, Ndebele, etc.

English became an official language in two dozen African states because of the impact of British colonization. For that reason, these nations are referred to as anglophone nations.

However, only a few can speak English fluently in the dozens of African countries that speak English as an official tongue.

It is conceived as a significant subject area in the educational establishments of most Anglophone states.

To learn more about the Anglophone states of Africa, keep reading this article.

You will meet every African nation that speaks English as an official tongue. Let’s check them out.

Anglophone Countries in Africa

Do you want to know how many English-speaking countries are in Africa; here are the two dozen African countries that verbalize English as their national or secondary language.

  • Nigeria

English spread through Nigeria during the British colonial era and eventually became an official language.

With the departure of the British colonies, the country continued to employ the tongue in its cultural, political, and educational activities.

However, there are indigenous tongues that are verbalized in the land before the arrival of whites.

In the north of Nigeria, Hausa was the dominant language, while Igbo in the east and Yoruba in the western part of the country. Besides these native languages, there are others over 500.

  • Rwanda

Germany and Belgium colonized Rwanda, but not one of their tongues was used in Rwanda.

Swahili is the widely spoken language amongst the three other official languages, Kinyarwanda, French, and English.

To facilitate and support international commerce in Rwanda, they use English as their business language.

  • Sudan

Sudan is a country with two official languages, Arabic and English, although Arabic was the official tongue before the arrival of English.

But there are over 114 Aboriginal dialects with over 500 different accents.

  • The Gambia

English and Wolof are the two tongues spoken extensively in The Gambia.

The country used to be under British colonial domination, so English is used as an official tongue. Of the total population in the Gambia, about 18% speak English fluently.

Other local dialects include Soninke, Jola, Manjak, and so on.

  • Liberia

It is another western African state that verbalizes English as an official tongue.

While the country was not colonized by the British, the American Colonization Society called upon black volunteers to colonize Liberia.

Out of 3 million Liberian nationals, approximately 83% are fluent in English. However, there are 30 local dialects in the country, namely Kru, Mel, Gola, etc.

  • South Africa

South Africa was a Netherlands protectorate in the 1800s but was replaced by the British. Since then, English has become the country’s official language, placing sixth.

An estimated 8.2% of South Africans speak English fluently. But alongside English, South Africa has 11 other official languages.

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They include Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Tswana, Northern Sotho, Sotho, etc.

  • Tanzania

Tanzania is a country with two official tongues, Swahili and English. Swahili is their original dialect, whereas English was inherited from their colonial teachers.

English is widely used in the country on commercial and administrative grounds. Currently, approximately 15 percent of the Tanzanian population is fluent in English.

  • Kenya

Kenyan has two official tongues, English and Swahili. 18% of the Kenyan population speak fluent English, and this is because the country was under British colonial rule.

However, a more significant proportion verbalizes Swahili. Along with these two languages, other local dialects are popular among the indigenous.

  • Sudan

Before the arrival of English, Arabic had long been the official language of Sudan. Today, about 68% of Sudanese people verbalize English fluently.

However, other local dialects are particular to indigenous people.

  • Uganda

This is another African state that used to be under British colonial control.

Ugandans continue to verbalize English in the context of their legacy of colonial masters. At the moment, approximately 85 percent of their citizens are fluent in the language.

But 40 other local dialects are reputed in Uganda. They include Nilotic, Kuliak, Bantu, and the list goes on.

  • Ghana

Ghana is also a British-settled country in West Africa. As such, they use English as their official language. About 66% of Ghana’s overall population is fluent in English.

Nevertheless, other local dialects are peculiar to the locals, and they include Ashanti, Fante, Boron, Ewe, and so on.

  • Zambia

English has become an official tongue of Zambia due to British colonialism. However, only 2% of the Zambian population is fluent in English.

Other local dialects are spoken extensively by indigenous people besides the ones above. They include Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga, Bemba, etc.

  • Zimbabwe

There are several tongues available in Zimbabwe, one of which is English. English became their official tongue during the British colonial era till date.

Only 5% of Zimbabweans are fluent in English. Other indigenous languages are popular amongst the inhabitants, including Kalanga, Nambya, Tonga, Chewa, etc.

  • South Sudan

This African state verbalized English as an official language in colonial times (British-Egyptian Sudan). Around 68% of the country’s citizens are fluent in English.

But before colonialism, Arabic was the official language in that country. Other indigenous tongues are specific to indigenous people in addition to these two languages.

  • Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is another English-speaking African country that used to be under colonial rule. Consequently, English was used as the official tongue.

Bengali is an indigenous language widely spoken throughout the country by most residents.

  • Namibia

Namibia is not a British colony, the Germans colonized it, but it belongs to the anglophone states of Africa. After World War I, the country was subsequently handed over to the UK under the South African administration.

Since that time, English has been their official tongue. However, Namibia has other mother tongues, which they verbalize in their respective communities.

  • Malawi

Malawi has two official tongues, Chewa and British. English was a language inherited from their British colonial masters, while Chewa is their local dialect.

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Approximately 26% of people in Malawi speak English fluently. But most residents verbalize Chewa.

However, other indigenous languages are shared by some local communities. Some of them include Peta, Nyasa, Ngoni, etc.

  • Lesotho

English became the official tongue of Lesotho during the British colony. Currently, around 90% of Lesotho citizens speak English fluently.

But Sesotho is the country’s national language as residents widely talk it. Outside of these two languages, other dialects are popular among native speakers.

  • Botswana

Setswana and English are the two most commonly used tongues in Botswana.

The country belongs to the British protectorate and speaks English as an official language. Of the Botswana population, only 2.8 percent are fluent in English.

However, except for these two languages, there are another 30 dialects verbalized in their respective communities. Some of them include Shona, Kalanga, Bukushu, and many others.

  • Swaziland

There are two tongues in Swaziland which are regarded as official.

Swazi is a native dialect that is extensively spoken in the country. Then English became the tongue inherited from their British colonial teachers.

Approximately 95% of the population can express themselves fluently in English. Besides these two languages, different native dialects are peculiar to the inhabitants.

  • Seychelles

This African nation is home to three official languages, Seselwa, French, and English.

Seselwa is used as the nation’s national tongue, whereas English was the tongue they had inherited from their British colonial masters.

French found their way into the country because of the French settlers on the island. In addition to those three tongues, other indigenous languages are spoken in this country.

  • Eritrea

Three tongues are verbalized as an official tongue in this African state. Among them, we find Tigrigna, Arabic, and English.

Tigrigna is a well-spoken native dialect used as the country’s national language. Arab, on the other hand, is the result of religious influence, then English was introduced after World War II.

Aside from the three tongues, there are different local dialects in Eritrea.

  • Somaliland

Somalia is another African state with three languages that are verbalized as official.

These tongues are Somali, Arabic, and British. The English have found their way through the country following British colonialism.

Arabic came because of religious influence, and then Somali is their natal dialect, widely spoken by most nationals.

  • Mauritius

This African country comprises three colonies: French, English, and Dutch. It may be due to the situation of the country on the island.

But the Arabs were the first to learn about this nation. In addition to these foreign tongues, other indigenous languages are unique to indigenous peoples.

Among them are Marathi, Urdu, Telugu, and lots more.

All the African states mentioned above are allophone countries.

While some embraced English because of colonization, others were caused by commercial influence and other factors. Yet all have their native dialects, which are used as secondary.