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Life in the African Union

The languages of the African Union (AU) are languages used by citizens within the member states of the AU. The Union has defined all languages of Africa as official, and currently uses Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and Swahili. The prominence of Arabic in many African countries is due to the Arabization of local African populations from the 7th century, whilst European languages were introduced during the period of European colonialism in the continent.

In 2001, the AU created the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) to harmonize the various languages across the continent and safeguard any that are on the verge of becoming extinct. To that end, the AU declared 2006 the Year of African Languages[1][2 ].

Contents

Languages of AU states

Language issues

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Illiteracy

Many African states have low literacy levels, in part as a product of poor educational infrastructure and several regional and ethnic languages lacking an alphabet or writing system at all or until the twentieth century. the United Nations Development Programme [3] is the United Nations agency responsible for collecting information regarding demographics such as literacy. In 2005, the Programme ranked several African states at the bottom of its rankings. One exception to the tendency toward illiteracy in Africa is the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. This community is estimated to have 90% literacy, making them second only to the Boers of South Africa as the most literate African nation.

Rank Country Literacy rate
1 Australia 99.9
1 Austria 99.9
1 Belgium 99.9
1 Canada 99.9
1 Czech Republic 99.9
1 Denmark 99.9
1 Finland 99.9
1 France 99.9
1 Georgia 99.9
1 Germany 99.9
1 Iceland 99.9
1 Ireland 99.9
1 Japan 99.9
1 Luxembourg 99.9
1 Netherlands 99.9
1 New Zealand 99.9
1 Norway 99.9
1 Sweden 99.9
1 Switzerland 99.9
1 United Kingdom 99.9
2 Estonia 99.8
3 Barbados 99.7
3 Latvia 99.7
3 Poland 99.7
3 Slovenia 99.7
4 Belarus 99.6
4 Lithuania 99.6
4 Slovakia 99.6
5 Kazakhstan 99.5
5 Tajikistan 99.5
6 Armenia 99.4
6 Russia 99.4
6 Ukraine 99.4
7 Hungary 99.3
7 Uzbekistan 99.3
8 Tonga 98.9
9 Azerbaijan 98.8
9 Turkmenistan 98.8
10 Albania 98.7
10 Kyrgyzstan 98.7
10 Samoa 98.7
11 Italy 98.5
11 Trinidad and Tobago 98.5
12 Bulgaria 98.2
13 Croatia 98.1
14 South Korea 97.9
15 Mongolia 97.8
15 Saint Kitts and Nevis 97.8
16 Spain 97.7
17 Uruguay 97.7
18 Greece 97.5
19 Romania 97.3
20 Argentina 97.2
20 Maldives 97.2
21 United States 97.0
22 Cuba 96.9
22 Israel 96.9
23 Cyprus 96.8
24 Guyana 96.5
25 Moldova 96.2
26 Macedonia 96.1
27 Grenada 96.0
28 Costa Rica 95.8
29 Chile 95.7
30 Bahamas 95.5
31 Bosnia and Herzegovina 94.6
32 Colombia 94.2
33 Hong Kong S.A.R. of the People's Republic of China 93.5
34 Venezuela 93.0
35 Fiji 92.9
36 Brunei 92.7
37 Philippines 92.6
37 Thailand 92.6
38 Malta 92.5
38 Portugal 92.5
38 Singapore 92.5
39 Palestinian territories 91.9
39 Panama 91.9
39 Seychelles 91.9
40 Paraguay 91.6
41 Ecuador 91.0
42 People's Republic of China (mainland only) 90.9
43 Sri Lanka 90.4
44 Mexico 90.3
44 Vietnam 90.3
45 Saint Lucia 90.1
46 Zimbabwe 90.0
47 Jordan 89.9
48 Myanmar 89.7
49 Qatar 89.2
50 Malaysia 88.7
51 Brazil 88.4
52 Turkey 88.3
53 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 88.1
54 Dominica 88.0
54 Suriname 88.0
55 Indonesia 87.9
56 Bahrain 87.7
56 Dominican Republic 87.7
56 Peru 87.7
57 Jamaica 87.6
58 Bolivia 86.5
58 Lebanon 86.5
59 Antigua and Barbuda 85.8
60 Namibia 85.0
61 Mauritius 84.3
62 Equatorial Guinea 84.2
63 São Tomé and Príncipe 83.1
64 Kuwait 82.9
64 Syria 82.9
65 Republic of the Congo 82.8
66 South Africa 82.4
67 Libya 81.7
68 Lesotho 81.4
69 Honduras 80.0
70 El Salvador 79.7
71 Saudi Arabia 79.4
72 Swaziland 79.2
73 Botswana 78.9
74 United Arab Emirates 77.3
75 Iran 77.0
76 Belize 76.9
77 Nicaragua 76.7
78 Solomon Islands 76.6
79 Cape Verde 75.7
80 Oman 74.4
81 Tunisia 74.3
82 Vanuatu 74.0
83 Cambodia 73.6
83 Kenya 73.6
84 Gabon 71.0
85 Madagascar 70.6
86 Algeria 69.8
87 Tanzania 69.4
88 Guatemala 69.1
89 Uganda 68.9
90 Laos 68.7
91 Cameroon 67.9
91 Zambia 67.9
92 Angola 66.8
92 Nigeria 66.8
93 Djibouti 65.5
94 Democratic Republic of Congo 65.3
95 Malawi 64.1
96 Rwanda 64.0
97 India 61.0
98 Sudan 59.0
99 Burundi 58.9
100 Timor-Leste 58.6
101 Papua New Guinea 57.3
102 Eritrea 56.7
103 Comoros 56.2
104 Egypt 55.6
105 Ghana 54.1
106 Togo 53.0
107 Haiti 51.9
108 Mauritania 51.2
109 Morocco 50.7
110 Yemen 49.0
111 Pakistan 48.7
112 Central African Republic 48.6
112 Nepal 48.6
113 Côte d’Ivoire 48.1
114 Bhutan 47.0
115 Mozambique 46.5
116 Ethiopia 41.5
117 Bangladesh 41.1
118 Guinea 41.0
119 Guinea-Bissau 39.6
120 Senegal 39.3
121 Gambia 37.8
122 Benin 33.6
123 Sierra Leone 29.6
124 Chad 25.5
125 Mali 19.0
126 Niger 14.4
127 Burkina Faso 12.8

Language extinction

Several African languages are on the verge of extinction due to increasing urbanization and the lack of a written alphabet.

External links

References

  1. ^ "Ethiopia: AU Launches 2006 As Year of African Languages". AllAfrica.com. 2006. http://allafrica.com/stories/200606210733.html. Retrieved 2006.  
  2. ^ Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (2006). "The Year of African Languages (2006) - Plan for the year of African Languages - Executive Summary". Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa. http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/praesa/YoAL.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-30.  
  3. ^ United Nations Development Programme (2005). "United Nations Development Programme Report 2005" (pdf). United Nations Development Programme. http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2005/pdf/HDR05_HDI.pdf. Retrieved 2006-09-29.  

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