AU Adopts Swahili As Official Language

THE AFRICAN Union’s Heads of State have approved Swahili as an official working language for the bloc.

The announcement was made during the African Union’s Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia early this year.

The approval came after Tanzanian Vice President, Philip Mpango, had argued that Swahili language was spoken by over 100 million people in Africa, making it one of the most widely spoken languages on the continent.

“Kiswahili is already in use in various communities including the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as a teaching language in many African countries,” he iterated.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has designated July 7 as World Kiswahili Language Day.

“The UN has set aside a day to fete Kiswahili. The language will be celebrated on July 7 every year. The decision has been passed by all members of UNESCO without any objection,” the organisation said on Twitter.

The language, which has its origins in East Africa, became the continent’s first language to be recognised by UNESCO.

According to the UN, the language had its origins in East Africa, and Swahili speakers are spread over more than 14 countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Comoros, and as far as Oman and Yemen in the Middle East, according to reports.

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