The Africa Union officially adopts Swahili, spoken by 100 million Africans, as one of its official working languages.

March 11, 2022

The Africa Union officially adopts Swahili as an official working language after a request by the Tanzanian Vice President, Philip Mpango, who pointed out that over 100 million people in Africa speak Swahili. Kiswahili, another name for Swahili, is used in the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and used as a teaching language in several countries in Africa. It is one of the first African-originated languages to be adopted by the AU.

It is spoken in over 14 counties, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and Comoros. It is also spoken in Oman and Yemen in the Middle East. Some countries like South Africa and Botswana have introduced it as a teaching language in their schools. Other countries like Namibia are contemplating adopting it into their schools. In addition, UNESCO declared July 7 as World Kiswahili Language Day, making Swahili the first language recognized by the organization.

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