Best English Speaking Countries in Africa


Among the countries in Africa with best English speaking populations include:Uganda,South Africa and Nigeria. Kenya and Zambia also have a significant number of people who speak fluent English.

Below is the list of countries in Africa with best speaking English population:

1. Uganda

Uganda comes at number one in the list of African countries where people speak the best English. This landlocked country has a diverse landscape and has a population of 45 million, out of which approximately 29 million speak the English language. Gaining independence in 1962, this African country is multilingual and has 43 living languages.

English became the official language of Uganda since its independence. Later, Swahili became the second official language of the region. Today, Luganda is the official language of Uganda, but many people still speak English.

2. South Africa

Located in the Southern part of Africa, this country ranks as the second-best English speaking country in the African continent. The country has 11 official languages and people speak other languages in the region as well, including Afrikaans and IsiZulu.

About 4.8 million people in South Africa speak English as their first language which makes up about 9.6% of the country’s total population. Although English only accounts for the sixth most common language, it is the second most popular language outside the household.

3. Nigeria

Nigeria is the third-best English speaking country in the African continent. The country boasts of 206 million population, out of which 79 million can speak English. This makes about 53% of the total population. Nigerian English, more popularly known as the Nigerian Standard English, is the language of politics and formal communication. On the other hand, Nigerian Pidgin, derived from English, is for informal communication.

English is the official language of Nigeria. Other languages that Nigerian people speak are Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Fula, and English Creole. Other than this, many of the languages in Nigeria exists in written form.

4. Kenya

This East African nation ranks fourth in the list of best English speaking countries in Africa. With a population of 54 million, this country houses various ethnic groups, all of which speak their own languages. However, the official language of Kenya is English and about 2.7 million people speak and understand English here.

This English-speaking feature of the country is due to the British rule in the country which started around the late 1800s. As a result, the British left a lasting legacy behind them, along with a sizeable English-speaking population. The English language is the medium of education in Kenyan schools. Although Swahili and English are the primary languages spoken in the region, there are various indigenous languages that have been around for ages.

5. Zambia

Zambia is located in the south-central part of Africa. English is the official language of the country housing a population of 18 million. Zambia has several indigenous languages, and almost all of them belong to the Bantu family of languages. For business and official correspondence in the region, people speak English in Zambia. Other than English, the main local language is Nyanja.

Zambia has more than 70 different languages and dialects. Almost everyone can either speak or understand the English language, and those residing in urban parts can speak it fluently as well.

6. Botswana

Another landlocked country, Botswana is located in the Southern part of Africa. English is the official language of the country despite more people speaking Setswana. According to estimates, Botswana has a population of 2 million, out of which 2.8% speak English.

It is the language of business and academic correspondence in the country and is used in formal communication as well. Botswana has 31 living languages which are all used by the local population.

7. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is not far behind when it comes to listing down the english speaking countries in africa. With a population of 14.8 million, this country is the seventh-best English speaking country in the African continent.

It might come as a surprise, but even though only 5% of the total population speaks English as a native language in Zimbabwe, almost 89% of the total population can speak it fluently. This number of speakers comes second only to Seychelles (93%) among the African countries. In addition, English is the lingua franca of the country, while the main language is Shona, spoken by 70% of the population.

8. Malawi

Located in the Southeastern part of Africa, Malawi has a population of 19 million. Although English is the official language of the country, only 26% of the population can speak it. Chichewa is the national language of Malawi and 57% of the population speaks it. Other prominent languages in the region include Chinyanja, Chiyao, and Chitumbuka.

9. Ghana

Ghana is located in the Western part of Africa and comes at the 9th rank on the list of English speaking countries in Africa. With a population of 31 million, the official language and the lingua franca is English. Approximately, people speak 11 languages in Ghana, but English remains the language of business and formal communication.

English occupies the position of official language due to the colonialization by the British in the region. As a result, people speak English with a heavy tone of pidgin—which might confuse many visitors to the country. Despite this, English is still widely spoken in Ghana amongst other languages in the country.

10. Rwanda

Located in the Central part of Africa, Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in the African continent. Having a population of only 13 million, the country has only 0.2% of the population which speaks English. It is the third official language in the country, after Kinyarwanda and Swahili. While English is the language of business correspondence, Kinyarwanda remains the most widely spoken and national language in the region.

The Last Word

The African continent, with its beautiful landscapes and wildlife, is an interesting place for many companies seeking to start their careers in the African region. With English being the universally spoken language, it might come as a pleasant surprise for many that it is the official language of many African countries. This official status makes expansion and business in the African region possible.

Although there are many indigenous and native languages in the African continent, English has managed to keep its place over the centuries. This is due to the colonialization by the British Empire, which has left its mark till today. Nevertheless, if you are a businessman or just a tourist on a vacation, you would not have a hard time navigating your way in Africa, as a large part of the population not only understands English but speaks it fluently too.