French Speaking Countries in West Africa

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Africa was mostly colonized by Britain, France and Portugal during the scramble for Africa and after a prolonged stay in the continent, the colonized nations adopted the colonizers language as their official language. Below are the Francophone countries in West Africa.

1. Benin

French Speaking Countries in West Africa

Benin is a diverse country linguistically. A total of 55 languages are spoken in Benin, with 50 being indigenous. Of those, French is the official language.

French was introduced during the colonial period and retained as the official language upon independence. Today it is an important lingua franca between diverse ethnic groups.

In Benin it is important to know French to get an administrative position or work in the cities in general, and speaking it is a mark of prestige.

2. Togo

French Speaking Countries in West Africa

The official language of Togo is French. The language was inherited from the period of French mandate rule over the area, was made the official language at independence.

3. Côte d’Ivoire

These are the French Speaking Countries in West Africa

There are around 78 different languages spoken in Ivory Coast but The official language of the republic is French.

The French language which was introduced during the colonial period is taught in schools and serves as a lingua franca in the country.

4. Mauritania

West African Countries that Speak French

Mauritania, is a country in Northwest Africa. Arabic is the official and national language of Mauritania. French is widely used in the media and among educated classes.

5. Burkina Faso

Best French Speaking Countries in Western Africa

The official language is French, which was introduced when France colonized Burkina Faso in 1919.

French is the principal language of administrative, political and judicial institutions, public services, and the press. It is the only language for laws, administration and courts. French is also the language of instruction in the nation’s schools.

6. Niger

Best French Speaking Countries in western Africa

Niger has 11 official languages, with French being the official language.

French is spoken mainly as a second language by people who have received an education according to Wikipedia, 20% of Nigeriens are literate in French, and even 47% in cities, growing quickly as literacy improves.

The French language is the language used by the official administration, the media and the business community.

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7. Mali

Best French Speaking Countries in West Africa

Mali is a multilingual country. With over 80 languages, Of these, French is the official language.

French which was introduced during the colonial period, was retained as the official language at independence and is used in government and formal education. Almost all people who speak French in Mali speak it as a second language.

The language is more understood in urban centres.

8. Senegal

French Speaking Countries in West Africa

There are around 78 different languages spoken in Ivory Coast, but French, which was inherited from the colonial era, is the official language of Senegal.

French is used by the administration and understood by about 15–20% of all males and about 1–2% of all women.

Senegal is also a member State of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

French Speaking Countries in Africa

List of French Speaking Countries in Africa
Image source: Completefrance.com

In 2020, a total of 31 independent states around the world reported French as an official language. If territories are included, the total number increases to 42. Of this total, 21 states are located in Africa, which represents half of the world’s French speaking states and territories.

A study by the Observatory of the French language, the OIF noted that “nearly 60%” of Francophones with “everyday use of the French language ( …) reside in Africa “.

There are approximately 434 million people throughout the world who speak French. However, the country with highest French speaking population is not France. Instead, an African nation, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tops the list with a total of more than 77 million people. France ranks second.

List of French Speaking Countries in Africa

1. Algeria
2. Benin
3. Burkina Faso
4. Burundi
5. Cameroon
6. Central African Republic
7. Chad
8. Comoros
9. Congo Brazzaville
10. Congo kinshasa
11. Côte d’Ivoire
12. Djibouti
13. Equatorial Guinea
14. Gabon
15. Guinea (konakry)
16. Madagascar
17. Mali
18. Mauritania
19. Mauritius
20. Morocco
21. Niger
22. Rwanda
23. Senegal
24. Seychelles
25. Togo
26. Tunisia

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