Africa Could Make French The Most Widely-Spoken Language in the World

When most people think of French speakers, they imagine Parisians or Québécois, perhaps even Créole-speaking Caribbeans. But in numbers, the largest amount of Francophones is found not in Europe or the Americas, but in Africa.

While the entire world contains approximately 274 million French speakers, a whopping 150 million of those speakers reside in Africa, with less than 100 million spread across Europe. France’s former colonies, from Morocco to Ghana, continue to use the Romance language in addition to Arabic and local dialects, even though it still maintains a certain reputation as a language of the elite. In business, politics, and culture, the French language plays a huge role in the everyday lives of many Africans.

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And more and more African nations are encouraging the instruction of French in schools and casual society. Bilingual programs of study are growing, as African schools begin to recognize the advantages of speaking the greatest possible number of tongues. Through interviews all around the continent, France 24 dives into the potential global implications of this trend and how it could affect all of us, non-Francophones included.